Diego in and Elias out at Atletico Madrid

Reports in Spain are indicating that Atletico Madrid have signed Brazlian playmaker Diego from Wolfsburg on loan, whilst Elias departs the Vicente Calderon.

AS understands that 26-year-old Diego has joined the capital club on a one-year loan deal after Atleti’s general manager Clemente Villaverda and sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero returned from Germany after holding negotiations for the playmaker.

Diego joined the Bundesliga team 12 months ago for a fee of €15m, but after a difficult season that saw the club struggle to get the best out of him and the player hit with substantial fines for indiscipline, his Coach Felix Magath confirmed his imminent departure at the start of summer.

Atleti have been in negotiations for the former Santos star for several weeks, with a sticking point being Wolfsburg’s valuation of €10m being twice what the Spanish were willing to pay.

However, with the transfer window coming to a close and Diego not registered with his German employers for the 2011-12 season, a compromise in the loan agreement looks to have been reached.

With Diego Forlan expected to follow Sergio Aguero out of the Calderon, Diego’s arrival is alongside striker Radamel Falcao, and represents a complete change of focus for the team in attack. The Brazilian is expected to take a central-midfield position in Gregorio Manzano’s 4-3-3 system, with Falcao supported on the wings by Jose Antonio Reyes and one of Arda Turan or Eduardo Salvio.

The Rojiblancos have also been linked with Lyon’s 20-year-old French striker Alexandre Lacazette today.

Meanwhile, Sporting CP confirmed the capture of Atletico’s Brazilian midfielder Elias on a five-year contract for a fee of €8.8m. The 26-year-old only signed for the Madrid club in January, but Manzano confirmed more recently plans to offload the midfielder, in light not only of the pursuit for Diego – that is likely to have gone through as a result of Elias’ departure – but due to the large number of midfielders currently in the squad.

Another point to his departure is that Elias occupied a non EU spot. With only three sanctioned for each first-team squad, Atleti had confirmed the three for 2011-12 would be Joao Miranda, Falcao and Salvio. At the same time, Diego qualifies for an EU passport through Italian ancestry.

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