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 By Ian Holyman

Nicolas Gaitan set for Atletico exit amid Premier League interest - agent

Nicolas Gaitan will leave Atletico Madrid in January and could move to the English Premier League, his agent has told Foot Mercato.

Gaitan moved to Atletico in 2016 after forging a reputation as a stylish attacker at Benfica but his switch to the Spanish capital did not work out with just 11 starts in La Liga last season.

His coach and fellow Argentine Diego Simeone has handed him just a single start in both the league and the Champions League this term, leaving the 29-year-old with little choice but to look elsewhere with England a potential destination.

"I can tell you English clubs are interested," Gaitan's agent, Jose Iribarren, said. "Yes, he'll undoubtedly leave Atletico in January. He has a lot of concrete offers. Nicolas was an important player when he played in Argentina, at Benfica, and with the national team.

"He can't continue in these conditions. If he can't play a string of matches, nor win the coach's trust... A player wants to play. We're going to see with Atletico which solution we can find."

Nicolas Gaitan is contracted to Atletico Madrid until 2020.

Gaitan's lack of playing time has also cost him his place in the Argentina squad ahead of next summer's World Cup finals.

"We hope to find a club where the player will be happy and will play regularly," Iribarren said of Gaitan, who has not featured for Argentina since October 2016. "Nicolas isn't a player who's happy to play 15 minutes per match. We wants to play every game.

"But there is no rancour towards Atletico Madrid. The club weren't able to give him a lot of playing time and make him feel important. Nicolas needs to feel important to play to his best. Each player works differently."

He added: "Atletico have gotten good results recently, but they don't play a style of football that suits Nicolas. The best solution is a change of scenery. We need a team that needs a player of Nicolas' profile.

"He could leave on loan or in a permanent transfer. That decision belongs to Atletico. We have a lot of respect for Atletico and their president. We have to find a solution that suits both the player and Atletico. We want to do that with the utmost respect."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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