Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid have opened contract talks with goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
The Slovenia international has developed into one of the world’s top goalkeepers under Simeone’s tutelage.
He was linked with Liverpool and Chelsea in the last transfer window and Simeone confirmed Atletico are keen to get Oblak to commit his future to the Rojiblancos.
“I know the club is working in order to make Jan stay,” Simeone told reporters on Friday. “We talked with him this week and he knows what he wants and needs.
“He knows that we need him too, he’s a key player in the present and in the future of the club’s potential growth.”
Simeone has also held talks over extending his seven-year stay at the club, where he is one of the most successful coaches in their history following a UEFA Super Cup triumph over Real Madrid at the start of the season.
But Simeone, who previously indicated he wanted to coach former club Inter, rejected speculation in the media that talks with Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin are close to completion.
“Yes, we’ve been talking about that with Miguel during the last lunch we shared, we touched on the subject slightly,” Simeone added.
“There’s nothing yet, what the press said are lies, we haven’t talk about money or how many more years, nothing, all lies. But it’s true Miguel told me that at some point of this season we should meet to and negotiate to continue to work together.
“I feel great, I’m happy and have a stronger energy that what I had in my first day at the club, of course I’m stubborn and I look for things we’re still missing.”
Atletico take on Barcelona this weekend looking for their first victory over the Blaugrana in 16 La Liga meetings, although Simeone’s side have triumphed in this fixture in the Champions League during his time in charge.
Diego Godin, Juanfran and Jose Gimenez could all miss out due to injury but Simeone is determined to stay positive about his team’s chances of beating the leaders, who are a point ahead in the table.
“Well yes, we always struggle when facing Barcelona,” Simeone said. “I consider they have always been the best team in the world, regardless of the fact they haven’t been as good in Europe as in La Liga these last years, but their statistics in Spain are crazy.
“We had hard times against them, we did better in the Champions League in qualifying rounds, in La Liga we always struggle. Tomorrow we have another chance, we play against a great rival who are living a great moment, we have the energy and we are enthusiasts, the word ‘chance’ is beautiful when speaking of football.
“We work in order to minimise the chances of having injured players, every team does and all of them have injured players. But we are great, we only have three injured players, Juanfran had a pain yesterday in the calf muscle, so we only have three players that can’t play tomorrow.”