Lee Kang-In’s move to Atletico Madrid is gathering pace.
Lee has had one of his best performances of the season. In his second season with Mallorca this season, Lee is on pace for a career-high six goals and five assists in the league. Along with his playmaking, which has always been his biggest strength, Lee has also improved his defense and speed.
He has also become a player to watch in La Liga. La Liga nominated the midfielder for its Team of the Season (TOTS) award, which recognizes the best teams of the season. Although he didn’t win the award, it shows how much he is being recognized.
Now, he’s looking to take his game to even greater heights than Mallorca. According to Spanish outlet Relevo, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Brighton, and Wolverhampton have all been interested in signing him since January, leading to reports in Spain of “let’s enjoy his last season”. It is likely that Lee will leave the team after the match against Rayo Vallecano on May 5.
Meanwhile, La Liga side Atletico Madrid has been the most heavily linked to Lee in recent days. Spanish media outlet OK Diario reported on April 2 (KST), “Atletico confirmed that they made their first offer for Lee on April 28. The first offer was for cash and players, and Atletico began to speed up negotiations after Newcastle approached the player. His buyout clause is €25 million.”
Atletico were once hesitant about signing Lee. However, they are now more interested than ever and have a concrete offer in place. ‘OK Diario’ reported on February 2, “Atletico is thinking of a player trade for Lee Kang-in for an amount of 12 million euros (about 16.8 billion won). Five players are being considered. Rodrigo Riquelme, Samuel Lino, striker Sergio Carmelo, left-back Manu Sanchez and Giuliano Simeone.” 스포츠토토
And the negotiations are heating up. Matteo Moretti of Spanish outlet Relevo, who first reported the rumors of Lee’s move to Atletico in January, has now confirmed that talks between Lee and Atletico are ongoing. “Atletico have put options on the table to sign Lee. Currently, the player and Mallorca are in talks for a transfer. Atletico are looking for a way to sign Lee and are looking to offer between €15 million and €18 million plus one player. Mallorca’s favorite player is Rodrigo Richelmeda.”
Atletico’s desire for Lee can be seen in the increased price tag. Initially, Atletico planned to make an offer of €12 million and a player, but according to Moretti, they are now looking to make an offer closer to €18 million and a player. That’s close to Lee’s €25 million buyout, suggesting that negotiations could move quickly. The specifics of the deal are also being outlined, with Atletico’s Riquelme identified as the player to be sent to Mallorca.