Yannick Carrasco is reportedly unhappy at Atletico Madrid. Is the time ripe for Manchester United and Chelsea to make a move for the Belgian attacker?
Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that the relationship between Yannick Carrasco and Diego Simeone has reached an all-time low. This was after the Belgium international appeared to have had a bust up with his Atletico Madrid manager in last weekend’s La Liga encounter against Alaves.
Indeed, Carrasco kicked a water bottle in anger after being substituted in his side’s frustrating goalless draw with Alaves on Saturday. So, with all apparently not being well at the Vicente Calderon, could Manchester United and Chelsea have been a handed a major boost in their pursuit of the Belgium international?
Before that let’s have a look at Carrasco’s career at Atletico Madrid so far.
The Journey At Vicente Calderon: One of Promise and Fractiousness
Yannick Carrasco arrived at the Vicente Calderon with a growing reputation of being one of the most highly rated attackers in European football, after his stint with AS Monaco with whom he netted 20 times and assisted a further 24 goals in 103 appearances in all competitions.
Having made an impression with the Ligue 1 side with his directness and clever change of pace, the Belgium international was snapped up by Atletico Madrid amid interest from several other clubs across Europe.
However, Carrasco’s start at the Vicente Calderon wasn’t exactly successful as he struggled to adapt to life in the Spanish capital and had an average season. As he failed to impact games for large parts of the season, the Belgian attacker ended the 2015/16 season with paltry numbers of just five goals and as many assists in all competitions.
This season, though, the Belgian attacker looked to have turned it around, with the proof of the pudding being in the numbers. So far in 2016/17, Carrasco has bagged 10 goals and 3 assists in 29 appearances in all competitions for Los Rojiblancos.
Having already bettered his figures from the previous campaign, it seemed like the 23-year-old had finally settled in the Spanish capital. However, the incident on Sunday and the reported bust up with Simeone points towards Carrasco being rather unsettled at Atletico Madrid.
This is the second such altercation between Carrasco and his Atletico Madrid manager, after the two also had a tiff earlier in the season. The latest incident, though, seems to have completely broken down the relationship between the two and could put him on the way out the Vicente Calderon exit doors.
Manchester United and Chelsea Linked: Time To Make a Move?
Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for Carrasco in recent months, with the Red Devils on the lookout for attacking reinforcements.
Memphis Depay was sold to Lyon earlier this month, and Ashley Young also looks set to depart Old Trafford before the transfer window slams shut on Tuesday. That leaves Jose Mourinho with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney as his options in attack.
While Mkhitaryan and Mata have impressed with their performances this season, Martial has blown hot and cold and Rooney’s best days seem to be behind him. Lingard is known to be a hard worker, but Carrasco will be a huge upgrade on the Manchester United academy graduate.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are also well-known suitors for the 23-year-old attacker, and the Blues are hoping that the presence of Carrasco’s compatriots Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Michy Batshuayi at Stamford Bridge would give them an edge over their Premier League rivals.
Indeed, with not many options to choose from in attack, the addition of Carrasco at Chelsea would provide a major boost in strength. Some would even go on to state that Carrasco is a direct upgrade on the likes of Pedro and Willian in attack, Hazard and Diego Costa occupying the other two places in the front three.
One important point to consider for both the managers is Carrasco’s fractious nature, following his altercations with Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
However, in Diego Costa is a big example of how Antonio Conte can positively influence a player’s attitude and make him focus towards his performances on the field instead of being involved in on and off field incidents. Even the reported bust up between the two seems to have been hogwash with no substance to it, as Costa is seemingly happy at Stamford Bridge.
Even Jose Mourinho, on his part, has shown that he can use a player’s streaky attitude to help them turn it into game changing performances on the field. With that in mind, Carrasco’s disruptive attitude could be a trait that can be used positively by either manager.
A deal for Carrasco before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, though, is highly unlikely and both Manchester United and Chelsea are only expected to make their moves when the transfer window reopens in the summer. When they do, though, they might have to shell out €100 million as part of Carrasco’s release clause in his current contract that runs through to 2022.