Atletico Madrid are closing in on the summer signing of Marc Roca from Espanyol, with the suggestion he could replace Thomas Partey.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 01: Marc Roca of Espanyol scores from the penalty spot during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and CA Osasuna at RCDE Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN: Marc Roca of Espanyol scores from the penalty spot on December 01, 2019. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Spanish outlet El Desmarque report that barring any last-minute issues, Marc Roca will complete his transfer from Espanyol to Atletico Madrid imminently. They’ll announce the capture of the 23-year-old defensive midfielder in a matter of days.

The same outlet adds that Simeone was looking for a new midfielder due to the uncertainty around his current options. Hector Herrera is underperforming, and Thomas Partey could well end up moving on to Arsenal.

There’s an element of Atletico needing to prepare for the worst with Partey. Thanks to his release clause, the Spanish club can’t absolutely ensure he’ll remain with them this summer.

Even if they want to keep the 27-year-old at all costs, they could still lose him if they can’t convince him to sign an extension and remove that €50m clause. Given that could happen anytime until the end of the window, they need to have a replacement ready.

So even though it’s probably just a case of risk management, it’s a positive sign for Arsenal fans that Atletico are sufficiently worried about the possibility of Partey’s exit to go and sign a defensive midfielder despite their current financial situation.

There’s been little visible progress on a Partey deal in recent weeks. Much of that presumably comes down to Atletico standing firm on their €50m valuation and Arsenal needing to sell if they’re going to afford that kind of fee.

It seems likely this one could drag on through the rest of the window. If Atletico won’t negotiate, there’s no real rush anyway. Arsenal could leave it to deadline day and still complete the deal if the player wants to come.