Contract extensions are nigh an everyday occurrence in the world of soccer, but to have an existing contract shortened by a number of years is almost unheard of.
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Alas, Atletico Madrid supporters will be on high alert after reports this week that the length Diego Simeone’s current contract has been reduced by two years, now set to expire in the summer of 2018. The Argentine, who’s been in charge of Atleti since December 2011, signed a new contract in March 2015, which was originally set to expire in the summer of 2020.
The alterations were reportedly made by Simeone himself, or at his request. For what it’s worth, a handful of Atleti players, including Fernando Torres, have since said they don’t believe the reports to be true.
Most likely scenario: Simeone feels he has achieved all he can at Atleti — he’s been to two UEFA Champions League finals in three years, losing both times to Real Madrid — and has his sights set on a “bigger” job at a “higher” level. By shortening his contract, his prospective employers would then owe Atleti a smaller compensation fee upon hiring the former Atleti, Inter Milan and Lazio destroyer.
Paris Saint-Germain pursued Simeone in each of the last two summers, and ultimately lured Unai Emery away from Sevilla this go-round after reluctantly deciding to give it one last go with Laurent Blanc last season. With most of the Premier League’s biggest clubs having all recently appointed a new manager, only Arsenal figure to be in the market for a new boss anytime soon. Juventus have Massimiliano Allegri for the foreseeable future; Bayern Munich just replaced Pep Guardiola with Carlo Ancelotti; and Simeone would surely — surely — never cross the capital lines and represent the other Madrid club.
Where could “up” possibly be from Atleti?