Atletico Madrid close in on Matheus Cunha deal as Vlahovic negotiations drag on

Matheus Cunha Hertha Berlin 2020-21Getty Images

Goal can confirm Atletico Madrid are closing in on a deal for Matheus Cunha, as negotiations with Dusan Vlahovic continue to drag on.

Atletico are in the market for a new striker after seeing Moussa Dembele return to Lyon after a loan spell at Wanda Metropolitano last season and selling Nicolas Ibanez to Mexican side Pachuca.

Angel Correa has fired Diego Simeone's team to back-to-back wins in La Liga at the start of the 2021-22 campaign while Luis Suarez has just returned to action after his summer holidays, but the Spanish champions are still lacking strength in depth up front.

What's the situation?

Goal understands Atletico originally identified Fiorentina talisman Vlahovic as their first choice target, but the Italian club have so far refused to comprise in talks over a final fee.

Los Rojiblancos have now turned their attention to Hertha Berlin's Cunha as an alternative option, and are confident of completing a transfer before the market closes on August 31.

Hertha are demanding €25 million (£21m/$29m) for the Brazilian, who helped his country win a gold medal at the Olympic Games earlier this summer, but Atletico are working to try and bring down that asking price

The Liga giants could even submit a loan offer for Cunha that includes an option to buy, with talks between the two clubs currently progressing.

Cunha and Vlahovic compared 

Cunha scored three goals in the U23 football tournament at the Tokyo Olympics including one in Brazil's final victory over Spain, but has yet to represent the Selecao at senior level.

The 22-year-old is still a raw talent, having initially joined Hertha from RB Leipzig in January 2020, and is not yet a proven goalscorer at the highest level.

Cunha has scored 13 goals in his first 40 outings for the Bundesliga club, 18 less than Vlahovic has managed in 46 more games for Fiorentina.

Of the Serbian forward's efforts for La Viola, 21 were scored last term as he established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in Italy, but it has been reported that his current employers won't budge on their €70m (£60m/$82m) asking price.

Goal has reported that Atletico are refusing to match Fiorentina's valuation of the 21-year-old, and it now looks likely that they will instead settle for Cunha as Simeone puts the finishing touches on his squad.

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