As if Chelsea won’t have enough Atletico Madrid players in their squad next season, another one has now announced that he’d quite like to join his mates at Stamford Bridge next year, thanks. Centre-back Miranda, who has already told the Spanish champions he’d like to move on and seek out a fresh challenge, says – according to the Catalan newspaper Sport – that he thinks the best place for that challenge might be West London.
Sport also reports that Chelsea have shown an interest in the big Brazilian defender, and hints that the Blues have moved ahead in the race to sign him. The other clubs interested in securing Miranda’s services are reportedly Barcelona and Manchester United.
A couple of things to remember here – first off, Miranda is no spring chicken. He’s 29 and only in the last couple of years at Atletico has he really showed any exceptional talent. Second, he has a buy-out clause in his contract, rumoured to be around £24 million. And the Madrid team have so far this summer stuck hard and fast to the rule that they will not let any of their players go for less than the amounts stated in their buy-out clause.
So Miranda is neither cheap nor young. He’s probably at the peak of his game and is likely to begin to decline some time during his next contract period. As such, he is not a good purchase for a club unless it is desperate to shore up its defence quickly and doesn’t care at what cost.
This is not a position Chelsea find themselves in. They have Cahill and Terry as their first choice centre-back pairing and Ivanovic as back-up. There is – unless the club promote Omeruo to the first-team squad – a need for a fourth centre-half, but it is not a pressing one, nor is it one that the Blues are likely to spend that sort of money on. That is, unless they get a much younger player who can be groomed to take over from Terry.
Miranda is a proven, highly capable, experienced defender who did exceptionally well last season at the heart of the best back four in Europe. But it’s doubtful whether he fits the criteria that Chelsea and Jose Mourinho are looking for.
The smart money would be on Miranda moving to Manchester United. One Spanish newspaper, El Confidencial, has reported previously that his agent was in negotiations with the Old Trafford club, and another, AS, claimed he had started looking at schools for his children in the Manchester area. Meanwhile, reports in Britain have suggested that United would be prepared to meet the hefty buy-out clause fee. And – following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand and the travails of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones – it’s clear that if he does go there, Miranda will immediately be one of the first-choice centre-backs.
So it seems this Atletico player will not be heading for Stamford Bridge despite the speculation. Chelsea will just have to settle for luring Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Tiago from the Vicente Calderon stadium. Oh, and bringing back Thibaut Courtois too. That’s quite enough to be going on with.