PETE JENSON: Kieran Trippier could be a great Atletico Madrid but Man United move could be right for everyone
PETE JENSON: Kieran Trippier could be a great Atletico Madrid if he stays and Diego Simeone will want to keep him… but a move to Manchester United would suit all sides if the money is right
- Kieran Trippier sparkled for Atletico Madrid and was instrumental in winning La Ligaga title
- But the Englishman won’t be an all-time topper at the club if he leaves this summer
- The 30-year-old has switched agents and is linked with a return to England
- Diego Simeone wants him to stay, but a deal can suit everyone at the right price
Kieran Trippier has landed in everyone’s team of the season in Spain after his brilliant campaign for Diego Simeone, but he will never come close to the club’s all-time XI if he walks away this summer.
The England right-back switched agents late last week, another indication that his time in Spain is about to come to an end. The move to CAA Base Ltd, which has another Manchester United target, Raphael Varane, on their books, hints at a potential return to the Premier League after one of its most successful, albeit brief, stints abroad so far for an English player in years.
David Beckham took four years to win a league title, Trippier did it in half the time and was hugely influential in its success – it was no coincidence that Atletico Madrid faltered mid-season just as Trippier was out 12 games due to a suspension for violating the betting rules of the football association.
Kieran Trippier’s spell in Spain was hugely successful and he was instrumental in winning the title
The defender switched agents last week in a sign that he could keep an eye on a return to England
Atletico won’t let Trippier go without a fight. The player activated a one-year extension to his current contract after having played more than 20 games this season, leaving him tied to the club until 2023.
He has a £60million surrender clause and while that may seem high for a 30-year-old who cost him £20million when Tottenham didn’t want him, Trippier looked like a £60million player last season.
Supporters will be upset by the departure of one of the cores of the squad that gave the club its 11th title in its history. Any group that wins the league will be immortalized immediately, but Trippier will forever be a notch below Juanfran, who was just back when they last won the league in 2014, if he doesn’t stick around to fill the club’s Wanda Metropolitano again to see.
Trippier has a good relationship with the Atletico Madrid fans and they will want him to stay
He had begun bonding with the club’s supporters before the lockdown interrupted business in March 2020.
There is always a horde of supporters at the gates of the club’s training ground and Trippier would regularly stop for pictures with supporters. A bottle of water thrown at the Metropolitano by fans and a drink taken before throwing it back during a match against Celta Vigo right at the start of his time at the club was also one of those details fans remember.
If there were any doubts about his performance, they were resolved especially in the second season when it became clear that Simeone valued him so highly. The Atletico coach went from a 4-4-2 to a fullback three, in part because he got the best out of Trippier.
Diego Simeone trusts the Englishman and tried to get the best out of him with a system change
He loved the defensive application, the mental strength, the physical intensity and the ability to hold the ball at all costs. If he could, he would give crosses to the attackers, but if he couldn’t, he would ensure that possession was maintained. If it’s good enough for Simeone, then it’s good enough for the supporters and if he stays with the club next season, with the stadium full again, he will be as praised as anyone else.
But if he is sold, he will never get the place in the club’s fame he earned with his performances last season. It was a title won behind closed doors, with fans locked out until the final home game, so a bigger tie couldn’t be forged.
Two months after arriving, he spoke to Sportsmail about the sacrifices his young family had made to help him make his move abroad work. A move to the northwest could be a reward in part for him. It could also be a way to give England a seat for the World Cup in Qatar. Despite some great performances this season, he was still sometimes knocked out of the England squads or even squads of analysts by players playing closer to home.
The likes of Reece James and Kyle Walker are preferred by European Championship build experts
Ultimately, it will be Atlético’s decision. The club suffered enough through the worst of the closed stadium to without hesitation link its car to the European Super League.
Now that that’s being exposed as a money cow fantasy, the club needs to start thinking about more realistic ways to bring money to the club. If troubled midfielder Saul Niguez were to lose this summer, there might be less need to sell Trippier. Simeone will want to keep him, but he also knows that someone will have to get out to let others in.
It is a deal that will suit everyone if the price is right for the Spanish club. If it doesn’t happen, Trippier will feel very much at home on the first day of the new season when, if the coronavirus allows it, he can once again parade the league trophy in front of Atletico Madrid supporters
The difficult financial situation at the clubs means that a summer break could be suitable for everyone if the compensation is right