Football

Sources: Wass, Azpilicueta top of Atleti shortlist

12:07 PM ET

Atletico Madrid have drawn up a four-man shortlist to replace Kieran Trippier headed by Valencia's Daniel Wass and Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, sources have told ESPN.

Trippier joined Newcastle last week in a deal worth an initial £12 million plus add-ons with Atletico boss Diego Simeone admitting he was sad to see the England international depart but that it is "time to look ahead and look for alternatives to make things work."

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Sources have told ESPN that the process has led to the identification of four possible candidates with Wass and Azpilicueta joined by Arsenal's Cedric Soares and Wolves' Nelson Semedo.

Atletico are holding conversations with representatives of the four players to determine which option is the most feasible.

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Wass' existing agreement with Valencia expires in June and positive discussions are believed to have taken place in recent days.

The 32-year-old is emerging as a prominent option given there is hope a cut-price deal can be struck this month to provide immediate competition for Sime Vrsaljko rather than having to wait until the end of the campaign.

Azpilicueta's existing deal with Chelsea expires in June but he is free to negotiate directly with overseas clubs now. Barcelona are also interested in the 32-year-old and ESPN reported on Dec. 10 that multiple players and staff members at Chelsea fear Azpilicueta could reject the club's offer of an extension and move back to his homeland.

However, Chelsea are continuing to pursue an agreement with Azpilicueta and are highly unlikely to sanction his departure in January.

Cedric is also under consideration after struggling for game time under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. The 30-year-old has started only six games this season following the arrival of Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna.

Sources have said the Gunners are reluctant to lose Cedric this month having allowed another possible right-back option, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, to join Roma in addition to Hector Bellerin leaving for Celta Vigo on loan last summer.

However, it is understood Atletico are yet to make a formal offer for Cedric and it is possible that a bid could change their minds given Arteta's desire to strengthen his squad in other areas. Nothing had developed as of Monday beyond exploratory talks with the player's representatives.

Wolves signed Semedo from Barcelona in September 2020 in a deal which could eventually reach £37m. The Midlands club are unlikely to consider parting company with a key player — Semedo has started 18 of Wolves' 22 matches across all competitions — and he has a contract until June 2023 which they have an option to extend to 2025.

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