A year ago, the first stone of what has been one of the most exciting red-and-white projects of recent years was laid. A trip by Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and Andrea Berta to the Russian city of Istra, where the French team was concentrated for the World Cup, was the starting signal. In the previous one of the tournament a photograph was taken with Griezmann and Lucas, recently renewed, and with Lemar, brand new new signing. It was the starting point of an ambitious summer in which one dreamed of closing the season in the Metropolitan with the Champions final. A year after that, Atletico faces a very different market than at that time.
In the meetings that have taken place during the course, the sports management-Gil Marin, Andrea Berta and Simeone-guessed a complicated summer. At the exit of key players like Godín, Juanfran or Filipe -the latter still to be confirmed- the march of two important assets has been added: Lucas and Griezmann. Atletico, therefore, is now working on a crucial reform of the Simeone project. The goal is to reassemble a competitive template and for this new names are needed to come to be holders. There's no margin of error; the success of the transfers will depend more than ever on the sporting success.
A new defense
It starts from behind. Atlético faces a renovation in the back, a field in which Filipe, Godín and Juanfran have been the pillars since the arrival of Simeone. The signing of Felipe, of Oporto, was the first to close. An experienced center that comes to cover the low of Godín. His arrival can be accompanied by up to four reinforcements: two left side, another center and a right side. Coming back to fight for being the least scored team in the league is a priority. The defense, as is known, has been the basis of the success of the project.
Later, in the center of the field, movements are also planned. Hector Herrera, who comes from Oporto to add muscle to the midfield, is another one that he seems to be wearing at rojiblanco. The club is attentive to Rodri, who has important offers and has not yet made a decision, and Thomas, whose father hinted his desire to play in the Premier. Both have had many minutes this season and their departure would also be difficult to cover. The sports management moves in search of possible spare parts. No scenario is ruled out.
The star debate
But if there is one focus of attention above the rest it is the void left by Griezmann. The Athletic one must look for a substitute to his star, task not easy if we consider the weight that the French had within the team. Among all the names that appear, Dybala is the one that most resembles him. His signing, however, does not seem easy, because other clubs like Bayern or United are also attentive to their situation. Another name is that of Joao Feliz, of Benfica, a club that refers to its clause -120 'kilos'-, a figure a priori unattainable by such a young footballer.
The shots, therefore, could go on the other hand, as Simeone said in one of his last press conferences: "We will look for players who have the illusion of coming to play with an important club like Atlético. It is very difficult to bet on a crack made; we are not going to look for it. We will look for a player like Griezmann when he came from Real Sociedad, like Rodrigo when he arrived from Villarreal, or Oblak del Benfica … We are that and if we do not know we have to go ».
The debate is about bringing in a figure that replaces Griezmann and fulfills his role or betting on players who, although of a minor profile, have an important future projection. No one forgets that the 2014 League was won with few – or none – stars on the team. In addition, entering the market of major operations could put the club's accounts in a bind again, once it has been able to alleviate the wage pressure with the exit of high chips.
A step forward
A renovated wardrobe. Leaderships change their names and Koke, Saul, Giménez and Oblak seem destined to be captains. Missing to know who will be your new partners. Every day dawns with a rain of names, a storm that only a few will sing and end up signing for Atlético. The departure of so many players forces the club to strengthen all areas, and may end up to a dozen additions.
In addition to all this, it is hoped that some players take a step forward. This is the case of Arias, who has insisted on continuing with rojiblanco; Saúl, who has not completed his best season; Lemar, star signing last summer; Vitolo, whose irregularity and injuries have prevented him from showing his best version; o Diego Costa, who is expected to recover the level of his previous stage. The success or failure of the Simeone project depends on them and on the success of the sports management. The Argentine has no doubts: "Obviously I'm still excited about all this, that's why I'm still staying." .