Atalanta Strike First Adding Fullback from Belgium

The transfer market window has yet to officially open, but Atalanta have already secured their first acquisition as Genk announced late on Tuesday to have reached agreement for the sale of right-back Joakim Maehle. The Bergamaschi will reportedly pay €11M for the 23-year-old Danish defender, who has collected 130 appearances with the Belgian club since joining in 2017, logging six goals and 22 assists.

Maehle will back up Hans Hateboer on the right flank since the two summer additions in that role have not panned out: Cristiano Piccini has been barely usable due to lack of conditioning following an ACL tear and Fabio Depaoli has unconvincing in his limited appearances. The former is rumored to be heading back to Sampdoria as the loan spell might be cut short.

It is the third time the Dea does business with Genk as they previously acquired Ruslan Malinovskyi and Timothy Castagne from them in years past. The Orobici might not be done spending as, according to the Swedish site Kvallsposten, they have offered €7M for Malmoe’s center-back Anel Ahmehodzic, who is also a target for Milan, Chelsea and PSV. It has also been widely reported that they are closing in on an agreement with Shakhtar Donetsk’s midfielder Viktor Kovalenko to sign him for free at the end of his contract in June 2021.

Our view

Atalanta needed a good alternative in such demanding role and they have struck gold before when signing players from abroad. Maehle is arguably already more established than most of their current linchpins when they first joined.