Atletico Madrid near deal for Celta Vigo's Augusto Fernandez
Atletico Madrid move for Celta Vigo midfielder Augusto Fernandez is close to completion, coach Diego Simeone has acknowledged.
Combative Celta midfielder Augusto, 29, has reportedly been lined up by Atletico as a replacement for long term absentee Tiago -- who is set to miss most of the rest of the season with a fractured tibia.
The transfer is expected to take place as soon as the transfer window opens on Jan. 4, with reports in Galicia claiming Celta are to receive a fee of €6.5 million, with the player's former club Velez Sarsfield getting a cut of around €1.6m.
The Colchoneros coach said in a news conference ahead of Wednesday's La Liga game at Rayo Vallecano that it was too early yet to confirm anything, while implicitly accepting a reporter's suggestion that the move was imminent.
"I would prefer not to comment as nobody has told me anything about when he is coming," Simeone said.
The arrival of experienced and battle hardened Augusto may mean that incoming €8 million young ex-River Plate midfielder Matias Kranevitter, 22, who has arrived in Madrid to join up with Atletico after spending the last six months back on loan at the Buenos Aires club, will not immediately be thrown into the fray in La Liga.
"Kranevitter will bring us a lot of hard work and recovery of the ball in the centre of the park," Simeone said. "He is a kid coming here very excited and will be in everything so that he can join up as quickly as possible with what the team needs.
"The adaption process to a different type of football is not easy. He will have to wait, to watch... and he will be there for us to transmit things to him at training."
Fit again Colombia international Jackson Martinez, who has missed the last two months through injury, will be on the the bench at Rayo on Wednesday, Simeone said.
"Today he got the medical all clear," he said. "He has been doing well. He will be on the bench tomorrow, with the expectation that he will get some minutes if the team needs it. He is recovering, with consistency in the training sessions."
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The La Liga co-leaders would face a stiff task at Estadio Vallecas, Simeone said, recalling that Paco Jemez's attack-minded team were 2-1 up at Real Madrid before the winter break, even if they were eventually hammered 10-2 after having two players sent off.
"Rayo are always a very brave team," he said. "Their attacking play is incisive. The first 15 minutes of the last game were impressive, they played much better than [Madrid], with numerical superiority all over the pitch. Then things changed due to the circumstances of the game.
Rayo are a dangerous team -- their bravery is a virtue and a defect. It is dangerous to play against a team like that."