For Atlético Madrid’s 2-0 win over Leganes, the substitutes bench contained Yannick Carrasco, Ángel Correa, Šime Vrsalijko, Kevin Gameiro. However, outside of these first teamers, there were three U-21 players, a sign of the current issues with Atleti’s squad composition. During the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals at the Camp Nou, Godín and Torres came off with apparent injuries. Thomas has recently returned from the African Cup of Nations, but the squad is still quite light in many areas.
A constant unknown is in regards to the transfer ban Atleti are currently facing. Whether self-imposed or not, Atlético Madrid conducted no transfer business in the January window, perhaps hoping this would allow for a reduced punishment, and making way for transfers in the summer.
Several areas of the squad do need investment should this become the situation for Atleti, particularly at the back. Diego Godín has been quality, as he has for many years, however, he can only be as good as the partnership he forms half of. Stefan Savic has been unimpressive to say the least, and José Giménez is a fantastic prospect, but still prone to lapses in judgment. An addition at center back would be a huge boost to the squad, especially given the defense has been the one area of the team that most of the time in the Simeone era has been the failsafe. In recent weeks, the club has been linked with Brazilian center back Lyanco of São Paulo, and though the club has denied the rumors, a move for him in the summer could be on the cards.
The elephant in the room concerns the €40 million (including add-ons) striker Kevin Gameiro, who hasn’t given the squad the intended boost his arrival should have provided, or stability at the seemingly cursed striker position. Simeone has proved cold-blooded in moving strikers on after not impressing in their first seasons, and though Gameiro may get a second-season boost, he’s not young, and should such a boost not come, it would be very difficult for Atleti to recoup their investment in the Frenchman.
Financially, Atleti’s situation is extremely complex, with a large debt still to pay back to Carlos Slim of €160 million, but funding from television has never been better for the club. Of course, practically every story regarding Atleti’s finances includes a snippet or section on the potential departure of talisman Antoine Griezmann to host of suitors. Regardless of Griezmann, or anyone else’s sale, there are major holes in the squad that need addressing.
If players do depart in the summer, there are several players on loan that may find themselves back in the fold at Atleti. Given the amount of money these potential outgoings would allow many more potential acquisitions