Man City deny Diego Simeone approach

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Simeone is staying with Atletico Madrid
Simeone is staying with Atletico Madrid

Manchester City have moved to quickly dispel rumours that they had made an approach to snare Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, on the day when the Argentine tactician signed a new contract to stay in Spain.

Reigning Spanish champions Atleti, who finished runners-up in last year's Champions League, are currently fourth in La Liga nine points off leaders Barcelona, but Simeone is convinced the club can get back to the top.

"I choose to be here because I am convinced that the club will continue to grow," he told the Spanish press.

The decision to stay until 2020 is a big statement from Simeone, who has been drawing admiring glances for his achievements in the Spanish capital on a relatively meagre budget.

However, shortly after he announced his new deal, Manchester City sources categorically denied to Press Association Sport that the club made a bid for Simeone's services or that they were interested.

Since taking the reins at Atleti in December 2011 Simeone has made a habit of gatecrashing the monopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid, scooping a La Liga crown, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup.

Simeone's impact has also been felt in Europe, with his side winning the Europa League in 2012 and then embarrassing Chelsea 4-1 in the Super Cup later that year.

"Ahead of us we can look forward to a new stadium, there is a great deal of excitement," he added.

"The club keeps growing. I've made a decision to stay where I am and decisions are sometimes difficult to make in life.

"Fortunately I've been able to make this decision as I see a club that is moving forward, I see eagerness to grow and people willing to collaborate. We all love Atletico Madrid, and we all want to grow together."

Atleti hailed the announcement with a banner of Simeone dominating their website and the hashtag '#Simeone2020' celebrating his renewal.

Club president Enrique Cerezo echoed those sentiments, saying: "Nobody embodies the values of our club more than Simeone.

"Passion, effort, nobility, work, solidarity, courage, heart ... he showed in his years of football, where he gave himself (in both) body and soul in the defence of Atletico colours."

The news of a fresh contract for Simeone appears to end City's apparent interest in the tactician, with Pep Guardiola's name another that has been linked with their top job in recent weeks.

If Guardiola is content in his role at Bayern Munich, City may struggle to find a top candidate to replace Pellegrini even if they want to axe the boss that led the club to the Premier League title last season.