Mario Hermoso has one year left on his contract at Espanyol, and that deal has a €40m release clause.

Atletico Madrid are interested in signing the defender, but are unwilling to meet the clause. They would rather wait until next summer to take him on a free transfer.

Marca now claims Los Rojibalncos are looking at a plan B and have identified Nicolas Otamendi and Ajax’s Daley Blind as other options.

The Spanish club are aware signing either of the players will not be simple and their sporting director Andrea Berta is working to bring one of them on a loan deal.

It is claimed the Manchester City centre-back is an ‘old dream’ of Diego Simeone and the Argentina international’s presence in the air entices the manager.

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The only obstacle for the La Liga side in signing the former Valencia man is his high wages.

Mundo Deportivo echoes claims made by Marca and they also claim the Atletico coach ‘likes’ his compatriot ‘a lot’ . 

The advantage of signing Blind over Otamendi is the former Manchester United man can play as a centre-back or a left-back, just like Hermoso.

Ajax letting him go on loan seems very unlikely, and the same may be true with Otamendi at Manchester City.