Jackson Martinez is the latest player looking to join the long list of strikers to achieve great things at the Vicente Calderon. It hasn't started as planned but Diego Simeone gave the Colombian striker his backing before admitting that both Martinez and the club are aware that he has to grow.
"He is a very important player for us and he knows that he still has to grow, but we have complete faith in him".
Maybe Simeone's words got lost in translation but Martinez doesn't need to grow. He is what he is and will not change much at the age of 28 and with a 29th birthday on the horizon.
What all parties involved need to do is adapt to ensure Martinez' best traits are magnified and his weaknesses hidden behind the bags of goals he collects for himself at the club when that happens.
Martinez was after all the man who had threatened so many times before to bring his talent to the mainstream and was linked with Arsenal, AC Milan and others before finally deciding on a switch to the Calderon. It was seen as a mere formality that Martinez would move to Atletico and start gunning down Atletico's Spanish and European competition. But he was always going to need time to adjust.
How do you adjust?
The guys over at Statsbomb threw together a statistical guide to the beginning of La Liga season and have pinpointed some of the main problems that we have seen from Atletico.
The main point gleaned from this article is that only 14% of Atletico's shots have been from inside the 10 yard line this season whereby last year 24% of their shots came from that area. This is the exact area where Martinez does his best work and in order to make sure we see the best of him, Simeone has to figure out a way to unleash his new signings' craft inside this area.
Another worrying stat, taken from WhoScored, is that Martinez had just one saved headed attempt inside the box during his 45 minutes on the field versus Villarreal.
As encouraging as it is to see Jackson Martinez chasing the ball into deep areas, picking it up and rumbling through midfield and displaying the kind of work rate that surely caught Simeone's attention to begin with, that is not what he is needed for and it certainly won't be what he is judged upon at the end of the season and in years to come.
There appears to be systematic problems that need addressing before Martinez starts knocking in goals on a more regular basis and it is up to both the management and his supporting cast to help fix these problems.
The Beauty of Balance
Carlo Ancelotti went on a relentless pursuit of balance in his midfield when everyone wanted him to play certain combinations of both overly attacking and distinctly defensive players. For the Italian manager, he was as keen on keeping his defensive record squeaky clean as he was creating chances for his attacking talent.
Simeone must now take on the same pursuit and try to open up Juanfran and Filipe Luis on the wings while also having someone in a central position to feed Martinez when the air is not the best way forward.
There is little to suggest that Simeone will compromise the defensive integrity of his team but there is a duty on him to facilitate his new signing to maximise his potential in some very important upcoming fixtures.