Football

Jan Oblak confirms he's on the way to Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid have ended their search for a replacement for the departed Thibaut Courtois after Benfica goalkeeper Jan Oblak confirmed he's joining the Primera División champions.

The two clubs are believed to have agreed a fee in the region of £12.8million and Oblak confirmed the move during an interview with Portuguese newspaper A Bola.

The 21-year-old said: "It was my decision to leave for Atletico. Ever since I was a child I have dreamed about playing in the Spanish league, which is a better league than the Portuguese one.

"This was always a big challenge that I wanted to take on."

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Drawn out deal

The switch completes a protracted transfer that saw club officials engage in late night talks in a bid to push through the deal, and Oblak admitted Benfica were keen for him to remain in Lisbon.

He added: "Benfica wanted me to stay and the president has done everything to stop me from leaving, but my wish was to sign for Atletico."

Courtois replacement

Atletico have been in need of a goalkeeper after Courtois completed his third and final season-long loan spell at the Vicente Calderon.

The Belgian has developed a reputation as arguably the best young goalkeeper in the world during his time in Madrid, and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has decided he's ready to compete for the number one spot at Stamford Bridge.

Following his departure Atletico manager Diego Simeone has been searching for a replacement and Oblak has long been rumoured to be the man to fill Courtois' gloves.

Rapid rise

His switch to last season's Champions League finalists completes a meteoric rise which saw Oblak go from starting the season in Benfica's B team to cementing himself as the club's number one as they completed a domestic trouble.

The Slovenian was given the chance to become a club legend when he kept goal during Benfica's Europa League final but he was powerless to prevent Sevilla winning on penalties.

Now he'll be charged with helping Atleti win the biggest prize in European football as they look to go one further and lift the Champions League.

Money talks

However, the chance to compete for La Liga and Champions League success was not the only reason behind the move, an improved pay packet also helped sway his decision.

Oblak admitted: "The financial factor was not the main reason, but the conditions are much better."

With the deal set to be completed soon Oblak has reflected on his time in Portugal. Having initially signed in 2010 he spent three seasons on loan to a number of Primeira Liga clubs but he has thanked Benfica for the part they played in his development.

"I will never forget the years I had with Benfica. I wish everyone at the club all the best and I'm grateful for the help I received there. Benfica is a fantastic club," he said.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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