The old saying goes, never change a winning team. But when it comes to the world of football, you always have to change a winning team. History has taught us so much. Great teams of the past like Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona kept evolving to keep winning. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid should be no different as the Colchoneros look to build on their success in La Liga. Who should be the transfer targets for Atletico Madrid in the transfer window?
– Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) May 22, 2021
Atletico Madrid ousted Real Madrid to the championship title on the last day of the season. In the best of recent title races, the Rojiblancos had ice in their blood on the final day of the game to beat Real Valladolid 2-1. They finished the season with 86 points, two ahead of their city rivals Real. Diego Simeone ended a seven-year waiting period for a league cup.
They were dominant in the league from the start and made sure not to lose their lead. After getting a smart deal in the form of Luis Suarez last summer, success was certainly on the way. Now they have to try to build their own dynasty as Real Madrid and Barcelona are going through a transition phase.
Luis Suárez in #LaLiga this season:
👕 32 appearances
⚽️ 21 goals
🅰️ 3 assists
🏆 1 track
Came to Atletico for a reported £ 5.5m after being told by Ronald Koeman that he was not part of Barcelona’s plans. What a signature! pic.twitter.com/YUGsOpoFcB
– SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) May 22, 2021
Diego Simeone knows that his club is a shrewd donor. They rarely break the bank like with Joao Felix. Therefore, with a limited budget, he has to plan to upgrade his squad. Simeone switched to a three-man back at the gay end of last season. He therefore needs to strengthen the squad in this area and also use a world class striker to challenge Luis Suarez. We at FootTheBall Evaluate the options that are available for El Cholo.
PRIORITY NO. 1 – CENTER BACK
IDEAL OPTION – JULES KOUNDE
Although Atletico have four center-backs, this is the only area where Atletico could improve. Simeone likes to experiment and switch between multiple systems. However, the change to the three-man back has made it extremely worthwhile for him. This system requires three top notch central defenders. After Diego Godin, Stefan Savic took over the position of head of defense. It is his partners who make the task difficult. Felipe had a hot and cold season and Jose Gimenez was often prone to injury. With Hermoso filling as a left-back, there is room for a first-class central defender. This is where Kounde comes in.
The first pic.twitter.com/Nb8Dk3WQsQ
– Jules Kounde (@ jkeey4) June 3, 2021
The 22-year-old Frenchman has been promoted in the Spanish league in recent years. At the age of 20, he moved from Bordeaux to Seville with a € 25 million deal. Kounde made it to La Liga like fish to water as he blended seamlessly with Diego Carlos in Seville’s defense. He helped his team win the Europa League and was named to the Europa League squad of the season.
On the pitch, Kounde shows maturity that goes beyond his age. He has excellent sense of position and is rarely caught out of position. Kounde plays much bigger than his size suggests as he boldly throws himself into the air. He is also not afraid to attack on the ground, since he drives in tackles. He’s got a nice pace that helps him cover the full-backs. Like any other modern central defender, he is an accomplished ball carrier from behind.
Simeone values versatility and Kounde offers just that because of his ability to play as a right-back and full-back. Atletico would have to pay Seville a large part of it to get him away. When properly cared for, it can be your defensive linchpin for the future.
OPTIONAL BUDGET – CRISTIAN ROMERO
Even Romero could not have imagined that his population would grow so quickly. He played in the Argentine league three years ago. Fast forward to 2021, he is a hot candidate that many clubs are looking for. The 23-year-old experienced a breakout campaign at Atalanta under the impressive Gian Piero Gasperini. His season eventually got better as he was the mainstay of the Argentine team that won their first Copa America in 28 years.
At 6’1, Romero has a tall stature and athletic structure that give him an imposing presence on the pitch. Romero can be described as an old school center-back who doesn’t take prisoners. He goes clean in tackles and comes out with the ball. His air play is a natural talent due to his physicality. Despite his size, Romero has great agility on the ball and feels comfortable with it. However, he needs to improve the speed of his game as he often plays square passes and thus hinders counter situations.
Romero plays a three-pack in Bergamo and is made for the Atletico Madrid system. The Argentine connection with Simeone could help him enter the new league without much trouble. With Romero on loan from Juventus at Atalanta, Atletico must act quickly and reach the old lady with an offer before his other suitors line up.
THE quirky option of football – LUCAS MARTINEZ QUARTA
Argentina longed for top-class central defenders for many years. Now you have two gems on your hands. Quarta, 25, grew quietly under the radar before suddenly making an appearance at the Copa America. Despite being a relatively risky venture, Atletico Madrid’s worth taking.
Martinez is blessed with a rapid pace that makes him a favorite when it comes to long balls thrown over his head. He is also adept at tackling and winning aerial duels. Martinez is an agile dribbler and extremely pressure-resistant, as he easily sneaks out of dangerous situations. He also has a great vision to play forward with lauded balls in search of his team’s runners.
PRIORITY NO. 2 – STRIKER
IDEAL OPTION – LAUTARO MARTINEZ
With Luis Suarez, Atletico has one of the best strikers in world football of the last ten years. The Uruguayan’s goals drove Atletico to the league title last time. It should be noted that the sniper is 34 years old and cannot rely on it every week. Atletico’s lack of options didn’t give Simeone the luxury to rest as Suarez was pushed to his limits. Joao Felix hasn’t lived up to his price tag and Simeone can look elsewhere to bolster his line of strikers.
Lautaro Martinez is a highly respected striker at 23 years old. The Argentine had a successful Copa America when his three goals helped the Albiceleste win the title. Martinez likes to play as the second striker in a strike pair. He has built an excellent bond with Romelu Lukaku at Inter. He could have similar success working with Suarez at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Martinez is a skilled dribbler and has great passing play to compliment his clinical finish. He can also drop deep to bond the game and is physically strong to shake off the challenges in midfield. Although he’s not a predatory number nine in the penalty area, he can create opportunities like a number 10. Luis Suarez, who will lose his legs as he ages, can thrive on Martinez’s service. However, Martinez is more than capable of running the line on his own if necessary.
Atletico Madrid are now favorites to bring Lautaro Martinez from Inter in Spain, according to Diario AS https://t.co/6pbrytnIIH #Atleti #FCIM # FC Barcelona #Atletico Madrid #Argentina pic.twitter.com/P3udJc48LN
-footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 6, 2021
With Inter feeling the full effects of the pandemic, it might be a good time to lure him away from San Siro.
OPTIONAL BUDGET – RAFA MIR
This would be a step that would not stop the world or would be noticeable in nature. But it’s the right kind of move that Atletico could pay off. Rafa Mir played for relegated Huesa in La Liga on loan from Wolves. The 24-year-old is a classic number nine that can be a fox in the box.
Atletico Madrid target Wolfs striker Rafa Mir, who impressed on loan at Huesca last season in Spain.
– Football extra (@football_extra) July 20, 2021
I have good pace and strength to assert myself in duels and run away with the ball. He also makes a high number of shots per game. Last season he scored 13 goals in the league, just behind big names like Messi, Benzema and Suarez.
It is reported that Atletico’s sporting director Andrea Berta is a huge admirer of Mir. If a move is made it doesn’t set Atletico Madrid back much as Mir is rated very low. Atletico could do a smart deal with him.
THE quirky option of football – GERARD MORENO
The man in shape. Whatever he codes becomes goals. For passionate Spanish football fans, this won’t come as a surprise. It’s somewhat surprising that Moreno’s moment came now at the age of 29. A man with infinite potential has finally been doing it justice for two years. Since moving to Villarreal, Moreno has exploded and reached new heights.
What a season for Gerard Moreno 👏
He is the tenth player in Europe’s top 5 leagues to have scored 30 goals in all competitions this season.
30 goals ⚽️
10 assists pic.twitter.com/PgqKgfbBAV
– ESPN-FC (@ESPNFC) May 26, 2021
Moreno is a clinical finisher and versatile enough to be successful on the wing. He scored 30 goals for his team for the first time in his career last season when Villarreal drove his goals to the Europa League Cup. Thereupon he was appointed by the national team and received the number 9 at the EM. Moreno impressed with a goal and a few assists in the La Roja semi-finals.
While it is very unlikely that Villarreal would sell to a direct competitor, it might be too difficult to say no if Atletico come up with a hefty offer.