Barca step up interest in Atletico star.Atletico Madrid playmaker Koke is reportedly another top midfield target for Barcelona this summer as they eye a long-term replacement for Xavi, according to Fichajes.net.
The Catalan giants have already brought in Croatian star Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla following the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea, but with speculation mounting that veteran midfielder Xavi could also be on his way out of the club, Koke has become another of their top priorities in the transfer market.
The 22-year-old has just enjoyed a superb season for Atletico, contributing six goals and thirteen assists to help his side to a sensational title win in La Liga. He also scored a famous winning goal against Barcelona in Atletico’s memorable run to the Champions League final, and is now regarded as one of the best up-and-coming talents in Europe, which has seen the likes of Manchester United linked with him in recent times.
With Spain now heading out of this summer’s World Cup after two shock defeats to the Netherlands and Chile, Koke could be free to negotiate a move to the Nou Camp in the coming weeks, in what would be another major blow for Atletico this summer.
Diego Simeone’s side have already lost star striker Diego Costa to Chelsea in a £32m move, with Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis expected to follow, while Thibaut Courtois has also returned to Stamford Bridge after a three-year loan spell with the Spanish club.
Koke reportedly has a release clause of around £48m, though it is not yet clear if Barca will be ready to pay that much to sign him this summer.