The Slovenian moved to Spain from Benfica in 2014 and has become one of the world’s most sought-after shot-stoppers, helping steer Los Colchoneros to the Champions League final in 2016 and Europa League glory two seasons later.
Oblak kept an incredible 73 clean sheets in his first 125 La Liga matches, and has earned the Ricardo Zamora Trophy – awarded to the keeper with the lowest goals-to-games ratio over an entire Spanish league campaign – in each of the last three years.
Such form led to a flurry of speculation regarding his future last summer – Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea were all linked with his signature, and the latter were believed to have met the £90 million release clause in Oblak’s Atletico deal which runs until 2021.
The Blues eventually splashed out £71.6m on Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga to replace the Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois, a month after Liverpool had spent £67m on Roma stopper Alisson. But Oblak insists he was always happy to remain in Spain, even though the prospect of playing in the Premier League does appeal.
FFT100 2018 No.9, Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Speaking exclusively in theFebruary 2019 issue of FourFourTwo, out now, the 6ft 2in Slovenian explains: “I can’t talk too much about [why a move to Chelsea didn’t materialise], but I said in the summer that I’d prefer to stay.
“I didn’t speak with any clubs – my agent and the people at Atletico do those things. I decided to stay as I saw a good project here, and I believe the best way I can win titles is by staying.
“But in the future, everything is possible. In football, things change from one day to another so it’s impossible to say you’re going to be somewhere for many years, because you don’t know. January is here, June is there. Things can change so fast.
“The Premier League is interesting. It’s attractive and at some stage I may want to be part of that competition. I can see myself there, but I don’t know when – maybe next year, in two years, five or 10.”
Read the full interview with Jan Oblak in the February 2019 issue of FourFourTwo. A goalkeepers special, we also speak exclusively to Gianluigi Buffon, Alisson, Jordan Pickford, Dino Zoff, Claudio Taffarel and Jan Tomaszewski. Plus, we hear from Helmuth Duckadam on his penalty-saving heroics for Steaua Bucharest in the 1986 European Cup Final, meet 92-year-old River Plate legend and goalkeeping pioneer Amadeo Carrizo, and trawl the history books to find the maddest of the mad.
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