February 28, 2018 / 9:12 AM / 10 months ago

Goalkeeper Moya joins Sociedad as Atleti clear out continues

Football Soccer - Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg - BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany - 21/2/17 Atletico Madrid's Miguel Angel Moya celebrates their fourth goal Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay Livepic

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid continued their player clear out with the club confirming that goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya has joined Real Sociedad on a free transfer.

His departure makes him the fifth player, following Luciano Vietto (Valencia), Augusto Fernandez (Beijing Renhe), Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan (both Dalian Yifang), to have left the club since the beginning of January. Second-placed Atletico remain Barcelona’s closest challengers in La Liga as they sit seven points behind the leaders and they are also through to the last 16 of the Europa League.

However, the club’s failure to make it out of the group stage of the Champions League — and the riches associated with it — has meant a number of players have been sold off as the board looks to offset financial losses.

Despite the transfer window in Spain being closed, Sociedad were able to complete the deal under La Liga rules that allow a selling club that has received a buyout clause stipulated in a player’s contract one month to sign a replacement.

Athletic Bilbao paid former Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez’s 32 million euro ($39.05 million) buyout clause on Jan. 30.

Moya made 36 La Liga appearances in Madrid after joining from Getafe in 2014. After starting out as first choice, he subsequently lost his place to Jan Oblak and played just seven times this term in the Europa League and Copa del Rey.

($1 = 0.8195 euros)

Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by John O'Brien

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