Since moving to the Spanish capital last summer in a move said to be worth around €32 million, Kevin Gameiro has failed to make a place for himself in Diego Simeone’s starting XI.
Due to his inability to make an impact at the Vicente Calderon this term, Atletico Madrid are set to offload the 29-year-old and open to listening to offers for the French international in the summer. They have reportedly sounded out numerous European clubs.
Gameiro was never their first-choice summer target in the first place. Simeone knew he needed a top class striker to lead his line alongside Antoine Griezmann if he was to continue challenging for trophies and preferred to bring Diego Costa back from Chelsea instead.
However, that move never materialised and Gameiro, then at Sevilla, seemed like a perfect candidate. A proven goalscorer in Spain and Europe, he was coming off his best ever individual season and had won his third consecutive Europa League in as many years with Sevilla.
He is a striker in his peak, having proven himself in the Spanish and the French Leagues, who was looking to make the step up to the Champions League. Simeone couldn’t possibly have gotten himself a better striker given the circumstances, but needless to say, things haven’t gone accordingly.
The Season So Far
At this stage last season, he had already scored 12 goals in the La Liga and 18 goals in all competitions. He would end the season with 29 goals and 7 assists to name in 52 games in all competitions, his third Europa League title and also earn himself a place in the UEFA Europa Team Of The Year.
Over the course of the current campaign, he has made 34 appearances so far in all competitions and he has started only 19 of those games. He has 12 goals in total and 6 assists from those 34 appearances, out of which 9 goals have come from 22 La Liga appearances.
The Frenchman is second in Atletico’s goal-scoring charts this season, with Yannick Carrasco who also has 12. All 3 of Gameiro’s La Liga goals this calendar year have came in their previous game against Sporting Gijon, where he came in as second half substitute and netted a hattrick.
Out of his 6 Copa Del Rey appearances, he has started only two games and scored 2 goals. One in a 3-0 drubbing of SD Eibar and the other in Atletico’s semi-final draw in the second leg against Barcelona, which ultimately wasn’t enough to earn them a place in the final.
Gameiro hasn’t fared any better in the Champions League either, having started only 2 of his 6 appearances. His solitary goal in the competition came against PSV Eindhoven in the Group stage. It would suffice to say these statistics aren’t worthy of justifying a €32 million transfer fee.
So it comes as no surprise that the former FC Lorient striker is being linked with a move away from the Vicente Calderon. In light of this, The Hard Tackle brings you a list of top European clubs that could possibly use a striker with Gameiro’s abilities in their squad.
Back in September, Gameiro revealed that he had the option to move to Barcelona in the summer, before he chose to go to Atletico. “There was the possibility of going to Barcelona,” he said. “But in my head it was clear I wanted to go to Atletico. When Atleti contacted me, it was clear.”
Barcelona were hunting for a back-up striker for Luiz Suarez, Messi and Neymar, someone who could fill in for them in the case of absence due to injuries or suspensions. They would eventually go on to acquire Paco Alcacer from Valencia for €30 million.
However, Alcacer has failed to live to up expectations at the club and has barely managed to make an impact with the Catalan giants. The 23-year-old managed to score his first goal for the club against lowly Hercules CF in the Copa Del Rey and has only managed 1 more since then.
Luis Suarez recently turned 30 and Messi turns the same age in June. Barcelona’s dangerous over-reliance on the MSN trio is evident this season and it is clear that they desperately need quality reinforcements to help them shoulder the burden going forward.
Gameiro, currently in his fourth season in Spain, may find Barcelona to be a good option. Being surrounded by the likes of Iniesta, Rakitic and Messi would certainly provide him with scoring opportunities in abundance and help him rediscover his confidence and form.
He certainly has the quality and talent to lead the line for Barcelona on his best day and would be a good short term option for the Catalans, but they may have to pressurise Los Rojiblancos, who may be hesitant to selling their striker to a direct rival.
Barcelona could certainly afford to acquire Gameiro at a cut price deal given his disappointing season. This would reduce Barcelona’s dependency on Messi, Iniesta and Suarez, who are at an age where they shouldn’t be playing 50 games season after season.
Gameiro is certainly the kind of player that the Gunners could use – fast, strong and deadly. At this moment, he could easily walk into the Arsenal squad and hold down a place in the starting XI ahead of Giroud and his arrival would also allow Alexis Sanchez to go back to playing as a winger.
Arsenal are on the lookout for a center forward and have reportedly opened talks with Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli. Lucas Perez looks set to leave after not being able to break into the starting XI and Olivier Giroud is being tracked by Marseille who, incidentally, are also interested in Gameiro.
It is yet to be seen how long it takes for Danny Welbeck to fully return to form after spending the better part of the past two seasons injured. He has never quite been able to live up to his full potential and it is yet to be seen if he can shoulder the responsibility of leading the line for Arsenal.
Prior to this season, Giroud was Arsenal’s undisputed starter despite his inconsistencies in front of goal. His talent and ability aside, it was also due to injuries to other players, Arsenal’s lack of business in the transfer windows and possibly Wenger’s faith in his compatriot’s abilities.
However this campaign, despite an impressive record, Arsene Wenger has chosen to play Alexis Sanchez at center forward instead of the Frenchman.
In 24 appearances this season, Giroud has managed to score 11 goals in all competitions and provided 5 assists. He has started only 6 Premier League games out of the 17 he has played this campaign and has managed to score 8 goals and register 4 assists.
With a move away in the summer unlikely, given that he recently extended his contract with Arsenal, Giroud looks set to remain at the club for the near future, but it is unlikely that the 30-year-old will start regularly for the club meaning that the starting position is more or less up for grabs.
Arsenal will quite easily be able to splurge on a striker and getting a player like Gameiro would be a huge boost to Wenger’s squad. With Sanchez and Ozil behind him, the Frenchman could certainly do a lot of damage and his ability to play with another striker upfront could also provide Wenger with valuable options.
The French international is no stranger at the Parc de Princes. He had spent 2 seasons at Paris Saint-Germain between 2011 and 2013 after being bought in the summer of 2011 from FC Lorient for an estimated €11 million plus bonuses which could be added later.
In his first season with the club, he immediately impressed under the management of Antoine Kombouaré and ended the season with 14 goals and an assist and helped PSG to second place in the Ligue 1 standings and also help them secure a Champions League spot.
Kombouaré would be sacked in December despite PSG being on top of the table and Carlo Ancelotti would be appointed in his place. Gameiro wasn’t comfortable under Ancelotti and was keen to move on at the end of the season, but the Italian persuaded him to stay on at the club.
In 2012, Paris Saint-Germain was purchased outright by the Qatari Sports Investment, after which they would undertake a massive spending spree which led to the arrival of players such as Lucas Moura, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
This would lead to Gameiro featuring much lesser than he’d like and he would make only 25 Ligue 1 appearances, starting only 7 of those games. He finished the season with 9 goals and 2 assists in 32 appearances in all competitions and despite winning the Ligue 1, he moved to Sevilla.
Right now, the Parisians could certainly use a striker like Gameiro given that Edinson Cavani is only top class center forward at the club. The only remaining strikers are youngsters Goncalo Guedes and Jean-Kévin Augustin after Jese Rodriguez was shipped off of on loan to UD Las Palmas.
Gameiro would have unfinished business at the Parc des Princes and would be more that adequate backup for Edinson Cavani and can also provide competition to the Uruguayan and given their financial stature, there is no price that could prove too much for the Champions.
A return to his home country where he has spent most of his senior career can only be beneficial for the 29-year-old and his familiarity with Unai Emery’s methods and philosophies and the City would make that much easier for him to settle in and hit the ground running at the club.
Jurgen Klopp has something of a striker conundrum to deal with at the moment. Roberto Firmino, who has been his first-choice center forward this season hasn’t quite maintained his form on a consistent level and has only managed 9 goals and 6 assists in 30 appearances so far this season.
Daniel Sturridge has seemingly fallen out of favour with Klopp and hasn’t been given the opportunities and minutes that he’d like. He has only made a total of 21 appearances so far and managed 6 goals and 3 assists. Out of those 21 appearances, he has started only 9 of those games.
Divock Origi like Firmino, has also struggled to consistently have an impact. In 30 appearances this term, he has scored only 8 goals in all competitions, 4 of which have come in 21 Premier League appearances. He has been used sparingly this term and doesn’t seem quite ready to shoulder the responsibility of leading the line for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Klopp’s only other center-forward Danny Ings, is out for the rest of the season after suffering yet another long term injury. The Reds currently sit at 5th place on the Premier League, and it is clear that they need a top class striker if they wish to mount a stronger title challenge next term.
Gameiro could just be the answer to Liverpool’s issues upfront. Provided they to pay the required transfer fee, there aren’t too many better strikers Liverpool could pick from in this market. His pace, work-rate and undoubted finishing ability would complement the Reds’ attack superbly.
With Saido Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Firmino and Adam Lallana around him it, there would be no shortage of chances for the Frenchman to find the back of the net. It would be a fearsome combination and one that could wreak absolute havoc on defences across the England and Europe.