It was an uneventful last day of the transfer window at Atletico’s headquarters in Madrid but that was in large part thanks to business being done earlier in the summer.
The signings of Nicolás Gaitán and Kévin Gameiro certainly caught the eye but I’m sure nobody is happy that Atletico have to rebuild their attack for the third time in three years after failed spells at the club for Mario Mandzukic, Jackson Martinez and Lucianno Vietto.
After two games, Gaitan has not started (he came on as a substitute twice) and Kevin Gameiro has missed quite a few chances against newly-promoted sides on the way to Atletico collecting just two points in those two games and there is a sense of eerie familiarity with his start to the season.
Simeone has all the pieces of his midfield puzzle in place but he has to trust Saul and Koke and cut this attack loose. A lot of what Atletico will do this season is based on how Simeone’s attack and midfield evolve from their previous state.
Building for the future
Atleti face an imminent transfer ban and needed to look to the future this summer, which is something they have been doing now for quite some time and added younger faces to their squad.
One of the strangest happenings of the summer was sending Diogo Jota to Porto on loan with an option to buy. Having signed from Pacos Ferreira last January, he arrived at the Vicente Calderon this summer with many waxing lyrical about his potential.
Not only did he not make an impression in a good way, he clearly didn’t show the mental fortitude during the preseason to convince Simeone he would ever be good enough. Either that or we are very naive and there are other factors at play here regarding agents but he joined Oliver Torres at Porto, where the Spanish attacker moved on loan.
Atletico also signed Sime Vrsaljko from Sassuolo as a long-term replacement for Juanfran. The 24-year-old right-back can also play at left-back and was very good for Croatia at Euro 2016.
Meanwhile there was somewhat of a clear-out with Borja Baston moving to Swansea and Leo Baptistao moving to Espanyol for €18 million and €3.5 million reportedly.
More loan moves
Meanwhile three of Atletico’s most exciting young talents will ply their trade within La Liga next season on loan. Theo Hernandez made the move up north where he is set to start at left-back at Alaves, Matias Kranevitter will get some much-needed game-time at Sevilla under Jorge Sampaoli and Santos Borre will do the same at Villarreal.
Bernard Mensah (Vitória de Guimarães) leaves the club on loan also, as with Javier Manquillo (Sunderland), Emiliano Valezaquez (Braga) Axel Werner (Boca).
Alessio Cerci was set to move to Lazio before deciding on Bologna but he failed the medical and with just four hours remaining in the transfer window, Atletico could not find a club for him. He remains an Atletico player, in name at least.
Atletico also cut short Andre Moreira’s loan deal as Miguel Angel Moya recovers from knee surgery and will be out until October. Moreira will likely play in the Copa del Rey’s earliest stages and will deputise for Jan Oblak should he need a rest.
In summary, Atletico need to make sure they are moving forward and that Gameiro and Gaitan settle in as quickly as possible before La Liga is out of reach and the season is well and truly underway. If Gameiro and Gaitan don’t hit it off along with Antoine Griezmann, Atletico might be in trouble.
Gameiro has some time now to settle in even further at the club during the international break but a lot of Simeone’s reputation might hinge on how he can meld this team together and make sure they compete at the top level.