Chelsea and Atletico Madrid have forged something of a one-sided relationship this summer—with key Atleti stars Diego Costa and Filipe Luis heading to Stamford Bridge—but Diego Simeone is ready to approach the Premier League club for the transfer of Andre Schurrle, according to reports in Spain.
Marca's Roberto Gomez indicates Simeone may ask for the German forward in a deal that would also see another Atletico favourite head to West London.
"Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle could be the missing piece of Atletico de Madrid's brand-new attacking puzzle, potentially as part of a deal taking long-term Blues target Miranda the other way," writes Gomez.
Atletico are used to dealing with the departure of big-name stars, having successfully replaced talents such as Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao over the years. Costa's exit represents something of a normality for the club who are forced into selling to maintain a healthy financial situation, but Simeone's alleged interest in Schurrle underlines the need for money to be spent.
David Villa and Adrian have also departed the Vicente Calderon, leaving Atletico short up front. Mario Mandzukic has been brought in to dominate through the centre, while the impressive capture of Antoine Griezmann should also ensure the side can build upon last year's title win and Champions League final appearance.
Schurrle is thought to be Simeone's preferred addition to what would be an enticing front three.
The former Bayer Leverkusen star endured a strange 2013-14 season for club and country. He made 15 starts and 15 substitute appearances in Jose Mourinho's team, scoring eight goals and providing two assists, per WhoScored.com. Despite a lack of first-team consistency, he netted a vital strike against Manchester City and scored a hat-trick during Chelsea's 3-0 win over Fulham in March.
Schurrle's prominence as an impact player from the bench has perhaps stopped him starting more matches. He provided a goal and assist in a 24-minute appearance during the Blues' 2-1 win over Cardiff on the last day of the season.
The player's knack for influencing as a substitute followed him into the World Cup, where Schurrle provided a vital service en route to Germany's triumph in Brazil. The 23-year-old didn't start any of the country's six matches, but still managed to score three goals and provided an excellent assist for Mario Gotze in the final, who slammed the only goal of the game to confirm the prize.
Schurrle's versatility may also play against him. Both Mourinho and Joachim Low utilise the player on either flank or through the centre, meaning he is made to slot into the team rather than the side fitting around him. Pete Sharland of Squawka believes such a situation is a "headache" for Mourinho and "danger" for the player himself, who will want to break free from being defined as an important sub.
Atletico could certainly do with the player's creativity, but letting Miranda leave would be a questionable decision. With Luis gone and Thibaut Courtois set to head back to Chelsea after his loan deal expired, Simeone would be foolish to allow another key defender leave the club.
Mourinho already has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Tomas Kalas and Kurt Zouma to compete for two centre-back positions, making the potential signing seem unnecessary. It would become ludicrous if the English side allowed one of their most prominent attacking threats leave to bring the Brazilian in.
Similar to Juan Mata's exit, an extended run on the bench may eventually force Schurrle out of the club. He is a popular figure, someone who is heading toward his potential, and would be missed if he moves on after just a year at the club.