Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has passed his medical at Valencia and is close to completing a move to the Mestalla, with Neto set to move in the opposite direction in a swap deal.
Dutch custodian Cillessen travelled to Valencia on Tuesday and, according to reports in local media, underwent his medical exam ahead of a transfer which will cost in the region of €30 million.
The Netherlands goalkeeper made 32 appearances in his three seasons at Camp Nou as back-up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen and his last game was the Copa del Rey final defeat to Valencia at the end of May.
The 30-year-old has been keen to leave the Catalan club in search of regular first-team football and he will replace Neto as Valencia No1, with the Brazilian goalkeeper set to move in the other direction.
Neto spent the last two campaigns with Los Che after two seasons with limited opportunities at Juventus.
The two transfers are set to be completed separately, with Neto to complete his move to Barca for the same price before the end of this month, in order to help out Valencia with Financial Fair Play, and Cillessen’s set for early in July.
That is in order for the deal to be funded in a different financial year, 2019/20, with the money to come out of Valencia’s transfer budget for next season.
Big shoes to fill? No problem for this guy...— Valencia CF English 🦇💯 (@valenciacf_en) 25 June 2019
Surprised? Nou breekt mijn klomp? 😲 pic.twitter.com/mmP7CkN9Qq
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone expressed his enthusiasm for the club’s rebuilding process after losing a chunk of the core in the transfer window.
The Argentine admitted that performing consistently over seven years is no easy task and praised his club for dealing with departures well and is confident that they can do so yet again.
“It’s a difficult transitional moment, but we have great enthusiasm,” he told Fox Sports.
“It’s a continuous challenge and today we are faced with one because big players who have given a lot to the club are leaving.
“We want Atletico to compete again as we have done so far.
“It has been seven and a half years of finishing second, third, first, second… that isn’t easy.
“A renovation has been underway since last season when Fernando Torres, Gabi, now the likes of Juanfran who were references of the team and my guys who gave me everything, and did amazingly well,” Simeone stated.
“Now we are preparing the likes of Oblak, Saul, Gimenez to transition into becoming leaders.
“They are not the same as the others were, you have to look how to empower them and convince them,” he said.
Among many potential arrivals at the Wanda Metropolitano, Benfica star Joao Felix stands out as the cream of the pick. Simeone is confident of the club’s ability to nurture young talents and is of the opinion that Felix can grow to his potential as well. But the 49-year-old also admitted that the team might have to play differently should the Portuguese be integrated.
“If Joao Felix and others arrive with different characteristics to those who have been here before, then we will have to update ourselves.
“In training we will see how they are going. It is clear that this year’s challenge is one of the toughest since we arrived at the club.
“Atletico are a club who historically buy young players to develop.
“We want a guy with talent and who can absorb our ideas. Like Oblak did when he came, who was not the Oblak we know today, and like Gimenez or when Lucas Hernandez arrived at the academy, like Griezmann when he came, who not the same as he is today,” he concluded.
Barcelona are set to begin their preparation for the 2019/20 season on July 23.
The La Liga champions spent last year competing in the International Champions’ Cup in America, and will now head to Asia to prepare for the new campaign.
Ernesto Valvere’s side will travel to Japan on July 23 where they will play one friendly against Chelsea in Saitama. Four days later, the Catalan giants will entertain Vissel Kobe – the club of former captain Andres Iniesta – at the Camp Nou.
There will be no Supercopa final against Valencia, the winners of the Copa del Rey, in August as the tournament structure has changed and will be played in January 2020.
More friendly fixtures are expected to be confirmed before the start of the La Liga season which gets underway on August 16.
23 July: Barcelona vs Chelsea. Saitama Stadium, Saitama
27 July: Barcelona vs Vissel Kobe. Camp Nou