Chelsea are given fuel in Jan Oblak chase as Diego Simeone says 'hopefully he can continue with us'

Diego Simeone has fuelled hope for Chelsea in their £110m pursuit of Jan Oblak after the Atletico Madrid manager said he was 'hopeful' the Slovenian would stay when quizzed on his future.

Blues boss Frank Lampard is on the hunt for a new man between the sticks after a difficult season for Kepa Arrizabalaga and are reportedly ready to make a big offer for the Atletico shot-stopper.

Oblak has come to be regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world in his six years at Atletico and a report in the Mirror suggested the Blues wanted to do a swap deal with the pair.

Simeone added that while interest in the keeper comes as no shock, he hopes Oblak will remain at the Wanda Metropolitano this summer.

'It does not surprise me, every year our most important players are wanted by the best in the world,' the Atletico boss told the media ahead of Thursday's game with Getafe.

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'It is normal to always look for the best – and we have many. Some have left and others have stayed.

'I am not surprised that Chelsea admire Jan Oblak, he is a decisive player for us. But he is the captain and our participation every year in the Champions League helps us keep our best players so I hope he will continue with us.'

'It is logical and normal that anyone wants Oblak. He is our captain and an important player. I hope we can count on his work, which is enormous for Atleti.'

Oblak signed a new contract at Atletico Madrid in April 2019 keeping him in the Spanish capital until 2023 and raising his release clause to £110m.

Sportsmail reporter in Spain Pete Jenson has recently noted that Chelsea adding Kepa to their bid will not see Atletico budge on that price tag, meaning a swap deal for the pair is unlikely.

Kepa is still expected to head for the exit door at Stamford Bridge after a number of high-profile mistakes this season and a lack of consistency since he joined for £71m from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

Simeone sees Oblak as his prized possession but the financial effects of the pandemic may make Atletico more inclined to accept a big offer if it comes.

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