Atletico duo sign on
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Pablo Ibanez and Luis Perea have extended their contracts with Atletico Madrid.Centre backs Pablo Ibanez and Luis Perea have signed contract extensions with Atletico Madrid.
Atletico moved to secure the duo after a host of European clubs had registered an interest in them.
Ibanez - who has recently forced his way into the Spain squad - has attracted a number of scouts from The Premiership with Liverpool and Arsenal both reported to be keen on him, while Colombian international Perea has caught the eye of Serie A titans Internazionale amongst others.
Both players have extended their existing deals until 2009, and have significantly increased their wages and release fees in the process.
Playing at the heart of Atletico's rearguard, the twosome have won rave reviews this term and are the major factor behind the side's impressive defensive record - the fourth best in Spain.
Both players arrived at the Vicente Calderon last summer, with Ibanez, 23, joining from Albacete and Perea, 26, from Boca Juniors, and Atletico have now outlined their intention to hold on to them for the foreseeable future.
One defender who looks to be on his way out of the club, again, is full back Cosmin Contra.
The Romanian recently returned to Atletico after seeing his season-long loan to West Brom cut short by new Baggies boss Bryan Robson.
Given his status as a non-EU player, Contra can not play for Atletico who already have three 'foreign' players on their books, and Contra is now studying offers from both Russia and his homeland Romania.
"I want to speak with the club soon and make a decision," he told the club's official website.
"Russia and Romania are the two possibilities I'm considering, although my priority is to return home."