Spanish shopping spree: Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitan swap Atletico Madrid for Chinese Super League’s Dalian
Wingers arrive ahead of new season with World Cup dreams but double deal ends rumours of Fernando Torres heading to China
Belgian international winger Yannick Carrasco and his Argentinian international teammate Nico Gaitan have swapped Spanish Primera Liga side Atletico Madrid for newly promoted Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.
The shock double deal comes days after Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group sold their 17 per cent stake in the Spanish giants.
It has been widely reported in the mainland media that Wanda will soon announce the takeover of the Dalian club, although that has still not yet been confirmed.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) 26 February 2018
No official figures for the transfers have been disclosed.
Carrasco, 24, has played 124 times for Atletico since joining them from Monaco in 2015. He has also represented his country 22 times.
Gaitan arrived in Madrid from Portuguese side Benfica in 2016 and the 30-year-old made 49 appearances for them. He has 19 appearances for Argentina.
Both players had been linked with transfers in recent months and make the move with the hopes of making this summer’s World Cup in Russia after falling out of favour at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The pair follow West Ham United and Portugal defender Jose Fonte to the 2017 League One champions ahead of the new season. The 34-year-old arrived last week and together they account for 75 per cent of the club’s possible foreign quota for the opening round of games.
It’s widely expected that the club will appoint a foreign manager to replace Ma Lin ahead of their first season in the Chinese Super League since 2014, which kicks off against Shanghai SIPG at Shanghai Stadium on March 3.
Contrasting reports surround the future of Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres. It was rumoured that he would arrive alongside Carrasco but the club apparently rejected the opportunity to sign Torres, according to reports on Sina.com.
Ateltico Madrid’s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone had previously expressed his concern with the uncertainty surrounding his players during the Chinese Super League transfer window, which closes at the end of February – a full month later than the European transfer window.