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Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak has suggested he could leave the Spanish club after saying they’ll grow whether he’s at the Wanda Metropolitano or not, as speculation linking him with Liverpool and Arsenal continues to grow.
Oblak has underlined his status as one of the best stoppers in the world this season, but he was far from committed to a future in Madrid when he spoke to Cadena Cope (h/t Football Espana):
“Atletico will continue to grow in the next few years, whether or not I remain at the club.
“Right now I am with Atleti and I am not thinking of anything else—my contract here runs until 2021 and there is no other news.
“At the moment we have injuries and suspensions so it is normal that our form takes a little bit of a hit, but we are confident we can put things right on Thursday (in the Europa League semi-final).
“This feels like a successful season for us and now we want a trophy, we hope fans feel the same as us and talk positively about us.”
Although the Slovenia international said he’s with Atleti “right now,” his comments appeared to suggest he may not be in Madrid for the long term, with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus also interested, according to AS (h/t Mirror).
Following David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois, Oblak has emerged as the latest goalkeeping sensation to have matured with Atletico, and La Liga testified to his might between the posts in 2017-18:
📆 34 Matchdays 📛 21 Clean sheets OBLAK owns the goal. 👊 #LaLigaSantander https://t.co/JVyqyFrqi2
Atletico manager Diego Simeone recently called his man the best goalkeeper in the world and said at a press conference that he hopes Oblak will stay amid a wave of transfer speculation, per AS:
“Atleti act accordingly to keep the most important players at the club. Jan is the best in the world at the moment. I hope he stays and that we can get the sporting side across to him, to keep growing as a team and a club. I hope he stays happy and keeps on growing like he is today. All of the teams who are winning things are doing so because they have great goalkeepers.”
The 25-year-old moved to Madrid from Benfica in 2014 and is now one of the top stoppers in world football.
Arsenal could have reason to invest in a new star between the posts, with No. 1 Petr Cech turning 36 in May and having endured a difficult season in terms of errors, per WhoScored.com:
Errors that led to goal across league and European competition of PL ‘big six’ GKs this season: 1⃣ P. Cech – 7 in 34 apps 2⃣ H. Lloris – 5 in 37 apps 3⃣ Ederson – 2 in 41 apps 4⃣ L. Karius – 0 in 24 apps 5⃣ T. Courtois – 0 in 38 apps 6⃣ D. De Gea – 0 in 38 apps https://t.co/G7Ll8myYlt
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has settled upon Loris Karius as his starting option, meanwhile, and it remains unclear as to whether the club might chase another upgrade or simply a better alternative than incumbent Simon Mignolet.
Juventus, meanwhile, are poised to bid farewell to faithful servant Gianluigi Buffon, although Italian football writer David Amoyal has said Wojciech Szczesny has the club’s backing:
As for PSG, Alphonse Areola is the man currently marshalling their back line, although the French powerhouse can never be ruled out of making improvements in any area of the pitch.
Oblak would be considered an upgrade on any of those goalkeepers and has formed part of a near impregnable Atletico defence at the Wanda Metropolitano, per OptaJose:
100% – Jan Oblak has saved the last 17 shots on target he has faced for Atletico at Wanda Metropolitano in all competitions. Barrier. https://t.co/czwncdlq6q
His comments may suggest several years of attempts at major silverware without much to show for it has frustrated Oblak, whose only title with Atleti is the 2014 Spanish Supercup triumph.
The star stopper has demonstrated how crucial he is to the Atletico cause, but while he shares faith they’ll remain strong, Oblak’s refusal to commit to Los Rojiblancos spells good news for his suitors this summer.