| Juninho's return to the FA Carling Premiership
has been cast into doubt by Arrigo Sacchi's departure from Atletico
Sacchi has been sacked by the Spanish First Division side after the club's third successive home loss on Saturday.
The former Italian national coach, hired at the end of last year, met with Atletico boss Jesus Gil and was reportedly offered £2.6million to end his contract, which was due to expire in June 2000.
Gil decided to act after Atletico slumped to seventh in the league following their 2-1 defeat by Espanyol.
Sacchi will be replaced by reserve team coach Carlos Sanchez Aguiar, who may be more sympathetic to Juninho's first-team plight.
The diminutive Brazilian midfielder has previously stated his desire to stay in Spain if at all possible and English suitors Middlesbrough and Aston Villa will both watch future developments with concern.