Diego Simeone has insisted that signing and developing young players is a key part of Atletico Madrid’s philosophy as they reportedly close in on the signing of Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix.
The 19-year-old forward has impressed in his native Portugal, scoring 15 goals and registering nine assists in just 26 league appearances last season.
He is reported to have a €120 million (£107m/$134m) release clause and had previously been strongly linked with Juventus, among other interested clubs, but Atletico appear to have won the race for the youngster’s signature, something Simeone believes is an integral part of how the club is run.
“Historically, Atletico buy young players to develop them here. Like what happened with [Jan] Oblak, [Jose] Gimenez, Lucas Hernandez when they came through from youth teams – or Griezmann,” Simeone told Fox Sports Argentina.
“We want a talented guy who can absorb our ideas. Our technical staff is already working on some situations to help to develop players.”
Simeone is dealing with a changing of the guard at Atletico, with a generation of veterans, including Diego Godin, Filipe Luis and Juanfran at the end of their contracts, but he trusts that the younger players at the club will step up to fill the void.