Sime Vrsaljko signs contract extension with Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid have announced that right-back Sime Vrsaljko has extended his contract up until 2022.

Vrsaljko, 26, had been heavily linked with a January exit when he was out of the team through the autumn, but in recent weeks the Croatia international has made an impressive return to Diego Simeone's XI ahead of previous first choice Juanfran Torres, who is 33.

The news was announced via a club statement which confirmed an extra 12 months had been added to Vrsaljko's previous deal, and in which the player himself said he was happy to keep developing his career at the Wanda Metropolitano.

"I am very happy to be able to continue growing here," Vrsaljko said. "I feel very comfortable and the only thing I'm thinking about is working every day to be important to the team."

Vrsaljko joined Atletico from Serie A side Sassuolo for €16 million in July 2016. He has since played 39 times for his current club, scoring one goal and adding six assists -- three of which have come in his last seven La Liga appearances.

During his time at Atletico, Napoli, Juventus and Manchester City have all been mentioned as potential future clubs, but his long-term future now appears set with Atletico.

Atletico did lower their wage burden during the January transfer window by securing exits for midfielder Augusto Fernandez -- to Beijing Reihe for €4.5 million -- and forward Luciano Vietto, who joined Valencia on loan.

Playmaker Nico Gaitan may still leave in the coming weeks, with Zenit St Petersburg said to be interested in a loan move.