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Atletico Madrid complete €29m deal for highly rated Spanish defender

Mario Hermoso joins the La Liga side from Espanyol on a five-year deal.

Mario Hermoso in action for Espanyol earlier this year.
Mario Hermoso in action for Espanyol earlier this year.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

ATLETICO MADRID’S CLOSE-season spending spree has continued with the €29 million acquisition of Spain defender Mario Hermoso from Espanyol.

The 24-year-old centre-back has cost Atletico €25m upfront, with a further €4m to follow in the shape of various performance-related add-ons.

Hermoso had just 12 months left on his Espanyol contract and has now agreed to a five-year deal at the Wanda Metropolitano.

A Real Madrid academy product, Hermoso only made his top-flight debut in the 2017-18 campaign but has since enjoyed a rapid rise.

He particularly impressed last term as Espanyol – who have a 20% sell-on clause – finished seventh in La Liga, earning his first Spain cap last November.

With Atletico seeing Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Filipe Luis and Juanfran all depart at the end of last season, Hermoso had long been suggested as a likely arrival.

But Espanyol’s apparent initial reluctance to reduce their asking price from the reported €40m release clause in his contract meant negotiations dragged on.

An agreement has been found, though, and Hermoso is the latest defender to join Atletico after Felipe, Renan Lodi and Kieran Trippier, who arrived a day earlier.

In a statement released on Espanyol’s official club website, the Spanish club wished the 24-year-old good luck in his new club, adding:

“From the first day, Hermoso has shown exemplary behavior as a player of RCD Espanyol and has defended the Blue and White colours with his commitment.”

Atletico, meanwhile, wrote in welcoming their new signing: ”We welcome an extraordinary player, who, despite his youth, has experience and a promising future.

“He arrives to make our squad stronger and we wish him all the best in this beautiful new challenge at Atletico de Madrid.”

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Hermoso takes Atletico’s reported expenditure to €248m with Marcos Llorente, Joao Felix, Hector Herrera, Nicolas Ibanez and Ivan Saponjic also new to the club, although they recouped €120m from Antoine Griezmann’s controversial departure to Barcelona.

Simeone’s side finished second in the Liga table last season, 11 points behind champions Barcelona, and they get their 2019-20 campaign underway on 18 August with a home fixture against Getafe.

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