Atletico Madrid enter race for Chelsea-linked Tagliafico but Chilwell remains Blues' No.1 target

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Atletico Madrid have joined the hunt for Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico, with Goal of the understanding that the Liga giants will be battling the likes of Chelsea for the Argentine.

A highly-rated South American has seen a move away from Amsterdam mooted for some time.

Having seen the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Hakim Ziyech secure high-profile switches, Tagliafico could be next to head for the exits at Ajax.

Goal has learned that Atletico are preparing to offer the 27-year-old a route to Spain.

Diego Simeone knows all about the qualities of a fellow countryman and would welcome the opportunity to add him to a star-studded squad at the Wanda Metropolitano.

It is understood that contact has been made between Atletico and Ajax, with Tagliafico’s availability being sounded out.

The Rojiblancos already have Renan Lodi to fill a left-back berth in their plans, but the opportunity to bring in another proven performer will be snapped up if the door swings open.

The Liga giants are, however, aware that the next window is set to prove tricky for all concerned, with the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic hitting clubs hard.

Atletico do not boast the spending power to go splashing the cash and must seek out creative solutions during discussions with Ajax.

They are also likely to face competition if Tagliafico does become available.

Premier League heavyweights Chelsea are keeping an eye on events in the Netherlands, while reports in Argentina have also linked Manchester City with the full-back.

Leicester star Ben Chilwell remains the preferred option for Chelsea, but Tagliafico is one that is being considered as an alternative.

Frank Lampard also has a much bigger budget than Atleti and Simeone and would have no problem financing a deal if Roman Abramovich is asked to write another cheque.

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Tagliafico is considered to be valued by Ajax at around the €26 million (£24m/$30m) mark, as he remains tied to a contract through to the summer of 2022.

His former club, Independiente, also have a sell-on clause that needs to be taken into account during any talks.

They are due 12 per cent of any fee, which means that Ajax will want to get the best deal possible if they are to do business with Atletico, Chelsea or any other suitor.