Atlético Madrid are entering “key days” to complete two winter window deals.
According to multiple reports, Lille left-back Reinildo Mandava and Valencia midfielder/full-back Daniel Wass are set to join the club this week. Atlético are working to “unblock” the Wass transfer with Los Che, while the Reinildo deal is now very advanced — on Monday, the 28-year-old flew to Madrid to undergo a medical and sign a contract.
Though both players are on contracts that expire in a few months, Atlético are eager to wrap up their arrivals now in order to patch up a leaky defense — the worst in Diego Simeone’s 10 years as coach.
Atlético conceded twice more at the weekend despite ultimately beating Valencia at the Wanda Metropolitano. The Rojiblancos have let in more goals this season (26) than all of last season (25), when they were league champions.
Atleti have not allowed more than 31 goals in any of Simeone’s nine full seasons in charge.
Reinildo’s arrival strikes me as particularly important given his defensive strength. He will instantly provide competition for attack-minded Renan Lodi, the only other natural left-back in Atlético’s squad, and permit Yannick Carrasco to play closer to the penalty area. While Šime Vrsaljko has been adequate since Kieran Trippier’s transfer to Newcastle, Wass is set to be considered as the first-choice right-back upon his arrival (even though he is a midfielder by trade).
These personnel decisions will allow Simeone to ease his team back into a 4-4-2 formation following the struggles with evolving the 3-5-2 system that succeeded in 2020/21.