Updated:Feb 1, 2023 7:18 am
There have been plenty of surprising deals over this January transfer window, but one of the most out-of-the-blue and possibly under-the-radar, is that of Matt Doherty joining Atlético Madrid.
The Ireland international joins Diego Simeone’s side from Tottenham Hotspur with the deal penned on Deadline Day. It was initially set to be a loan deal until the end of the season however later in the day, it emerged Spurs had terminated his contract to allow the move.
The defender has notably struggled for game time since joining the side in 2020 from Wolverhampton Wanderers and will be keen to impress in Spain.
Doherty has made 16 appearances this season, and last started a Premier League game in a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal in early January. Manager Antonio Conte criticised his performances earlier in the season, claiming he was “not seeing him in the right way to start games.”
The defender would inevitably be pushed further out of the side as a result of Pedro Porro signing from Sporting CP, so moving away from North London seems to be the right choice. The Porro deal was confirmed late on Deadline Day, with Djed Spence leaving the London side to join Rennes on loan.
Doherty is the first Irish player to make the move to Atlético Madrid, and it’s rare to see an Irish international move outside of the UK, especially to such a prominent side in European football. The 31-year-old is quite the leading figure in the Republic of Ireland squad, with 33 caps and one goal, despite the side’s rather pedestrian performances as of late. The squad will face France, The Netherlands, Greece and Gibraltar in their upcoming EURO 2024 qualifying campaign which begins next month. Doherty will face two of his new teammates in these fixtures; Dutch striker Memphis Depay and French number ten Antoine Griezmann.
Atlético Madrid currently sit fourth in the Spanish league, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona.