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Analyzing Atletico Madrid’s summer transfer window

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Diego Simeone has had a very busy transfer window so far rebuilding his side that won La Liga and made the Champions League final two years ago. The 2011-12 Europa League winner has plenty to do if he wants Atletico Madrid to be contending with Barcelona and hated rivals Real Madrid for the Spanish league title once again. And he’s revamped his team to become younger and more dynamic.

The first big move ‘El Cholo’ made during the transfer window was to sell Mario Mandzukic to Juventus reportedly for €19 million. The Croatian international had a lukewarm debut for the Rojiblancos after signing from Bayern Munich. He was the direct replacement for Diego Costa, who left for Chelsea, but never could emulate the scoring record he had with the Bavarians. Simeone spoke to Spanish newspaper AS last month about Mandzukic’s struggle.

“He [Mandzukic] annoys me easily, that’s the reality. He is a great player and a decent lad. He himself is down about not maintaining the form he displayed up until February. We sat down together and aimed to improve on his record of 28 goals at Bayern. This wasn’t possible and it upset him.”

Carlos Tevez was rumored to be the top target Atletico wanted as their lead striker but he decided to go back home and play for Boca Juniors. The next player on their list seemed to be Porto’s Jackson Martinez. The Colombian international almost signed for AC Milan but changed his mind at the last minute and went with the 10-time La Liga winners after they paid his release clause rumored to be €35 million.

“We are very pleased with the agreement, because Jackson Martinez is an extraordinary striker, able to rapidly solve any attacking play inside the box. Thanks to his size, he heads very well and interchangeably uses either foot to shoot. I am sure that he will greatly increase the potential of our team and will bring plenty to the group. We are delighted with his signing because he is a football player used to compete at a top level in Porto and has shone brightly in important competitions such as the Champions League,” said the club’s sporting director Jose Luis Caminero last week.

Another forward who was purchased by Atletico is Luciano Vietto. The Argentine has a close relationship with Simeone because the 45-year-old gave Vietto his professional debut when he managed Racing Club. Vietto was at Villarreal for one season where he scored 12 goals in 32 appearances and he’s reunited with his former boss for €20 million and signed a six-year deal.

Jose Gimenez’s rapid rise to stardom eventually made Miranda expendable and the 30-year-old was sold to Inter Milan for €15 million. Gimenez and Diego Godin already have a great chemistry as the starting centre-backs due to them both being Uruguayan internationals and the 20-year-old will be giving the opportunity to blossom. Another centre-back who was let go by the side was Toby Alderweireld. He was sold to Tottenham for around €16.5 million after being with Atletico Madrid for just two years. Alderweireld was never good enough to become a first-team player and was on-loan last year with Southampton in the Premier League where he impressed Mauricio Pochettino enough to sign him. To take his place on the roster, Fiorentina’s Stefan Savic was signed reportedly for €9 million. Savic a was member of Manchester City’s 2011-12 Premier League winning side and is a tough defender with plenty of experience for a 24-year-old. Fiorentina will also acquire midfielder Mario Suarez in the deal as he was searching for a place where he would get more playing time.

The biggest decision made by the club was to move Arda Turan to Barcelona for €34 million. Selling one of your best players to the best team in your league, and arguably the world, is never looked at as clever but reports have come out to display Simeone’s logic for moving the Turkey international. Turan supposedly was fed up with all the defensive work that his manager required. Once a player gives up on the philosophy of the club then he will no longer be dedicated to helping the team by any means necessary so it seemed to be an amicable split between the two parties. Turan is replaced by 21-year-old Yannick Ferreira Carrasco who was previously at Monaco. The Belgium international is a versatile player and is at his best as a winger using his pace and dribbling ability to create chances. The deal was rumored to be for €15-20 million.

One player who left the team last year is rumored to be coming back soon. That is left-back Filipe Luis. The Brazil international couldn’t crack into Chelsea’s starting lineup and Jose Mourinho is allowing him to go back to the team where he became a star. Chelsea signed Luis last year for around €22.5 million and are supposedly selling him back to the 10-time Copa del Rey winners for around €16 million.

The transfer market for many is a crapshoot but Simeone seems to have it down to a science. Him and his scouting pool are constantly looking for younger alternatives to the players they already have. Atletico Madrid fell off as a team last year due to Costa and Thibaut Courtois becoming Chelsea players but this year, no key cog left and the Rojiblancos will be legitimate threats for the La Liga title once again.

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