'He's as important as Griezmann' - Gabi and Juanfran hopeful over Oblak's Atletico future

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The Slovenian is regarded as one of the world's finest goalkeepers and his club teammates are hoping that he signs a new deal in Madrid

Gabi and Juanfran hope that Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak can be persuaded to put pen to paper on a new contract with the club.

Oblak, considered among the world's best goalkeepers, was linked with Liverpool before Jurgen Klopp's team signed Alisson from Roma.

Chelsea were among the other clubs reportedly interested in the Slovenia international, but they opted for Athletic Bilbao's Kepa Arrizabalaga instead.

Oblak would likely cost even more than Alisson and Kepa, whose moves both broke the world-record fee for a keeper, as his release clause is reportedly set at €100m (£87m, $113m).

With Oblak's contract due to expire in 2021, former captain Gabi feels the 25-year-old should be considered on a par with Atletico's star striker Antoine Griezmann.

"Oblak is as decisive as Griezmann, he gives points to Atletico," he told COPE show El Partidazo. 

"Atleti are going to make a big effort to stay and he will want to stay, I am sure he will continue.

"His situation is difficult. I am convinced that he would like to renew his contract. I am sure they will reach an agreement."

Reports in Spain suggested Oblak's wage demands could price him out of a new deal and Gabi accepted the club faces financial challenges.

"All players grow and keeping players of such a high level in a club that does not have a big budget is difficult, you cannot keep everyone with the highest salaries," he added.

"The club is in a complicated situation. It is not that the Atleti does not want to renew the players, they just have to work with the resources available."

Gabi's former team-mate Juanfran, though, feels Atletico need to stretch their budget as much as possible to secure Oblak's future at the club.

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"I would try to do everything possible and I hope he has the will," the 33-year-old right-back told El Larguero of the Ballon d'Or nominee. 

"Players sometimes leave the team, others come and there is no problem - [Sime] Vrsaljko left and [Santiago] Arias came.

"I would give him the blank cheque because he deserves it."

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