Atlético’s forward shuffle

Who will assume the role of third striker for Atleti next season?

atletico madrid strikers falcao adrian and salvio celebrate goal

Falcao and Adrián celebrate with Salvio (AP Photo)

Despite the latest rumours suggesting Barcelona are negotiating for Atlético superstar striker Radamel Falcao, it seems the Rojiblanco faithful can rest assured ‘El Tigre’ and attack partner Adrián – also the subject of occasional Barça-bound speculation – will be back to defend their Europa League title next season and once again vie for a place in the Champions League.

The pair have unquestionably filled the void in Colchonero hearts caused by last summer’s devastating departure of Sergio Agüero, and to a lesser extent, left by Diego Forlán’s exit.

A year removed from that tumultuous offseason, our new forwards ended up tallying 55 goals between them–19 more than Kun and Forlán compiled in their final campaign at Atleti and eight more than they totalled in their own Europa League-title-lifting season in 2009/10.

Should Falcao and Adrián return as expected, they are virtually assured of a place in the fold for the UEFA Super Cup final against Chelsea, and they will lead the charge in our 2012/13 campaign.

What isn’t so clear however, is who will be the man, or men, who will be coming off the bench to allow our lethal strike duo to take a break every once in a while.

The leading candidates, of course, are Eduardo Salvio and Diego Costa, who for the third time in as many summers, will be fighting for a place in the squad given that the Brazilian will not, as Spanish paper AS reports, be receiving a Spanish passport in time for the start of the next term.

Upon the arrival of countryman and coach Diego Simeone, Salvio took on a larger role than ever before while in red and white.

For the most part, ‘El Toto’ delivered when given the chance, particularly in the Europa League, a competition in which he appeared in 16 matches (six as a starter), scoring five goals and adding two assists en route to the title.

The Argentine only notched three goals and two assists in 31 appearances in La Liga (17 as a starter).

Costa meanwhile, in just half a season at Rayo Vallecano, where he spent the second round on loan after recovering from a severe knee injury sustained last July in training, scored a remarkable 10 goals with our neighbours, even adding a highly respectable sum of four assists.

Both of our presumable back-up forwards have no shortage of suitors, and it will be the job of the Atleti coaching staff and front office officials to determine who, if either, should stay at the Vicente Calderón.

Considering the club are looking to secure €30 million in order to retain Falcao and make up for the budgetary gap reportedly caused by our missing out on a Champions League berth, the sale of both men is a plausible scenario.

Should that end up being the case, sporting director José Luis Pérez Caminero and crew have purportedly lined up Trabzonspor star Burak Yilmaz, who led the Turkish Süper Lig with 32 goals last season.

That extraordinary total was achieved in 30 appearances by the 26-year-old Turkey international striker.

AS claims the forward’s €5 million price tag is what’s holding back a deal from being struck between his current side and Atleti, who are on a white-knuckledly-tight budget at the moment as evidenced by their first two signings for next year: Emre and Cristian Rodríguez, both coming in as free agents.

Who would you like to see coming off the bench to replace our top two when rest is needed?

  • Derek Maaijen

    I think we’ll need at least two strikers to back up Adrián and Falcao. I wouldn’t mind holding on to Salvio and Diego Costa, who both have unfulfilled potential and who I think do a fine job off the bench.

    I can see Atleti selling one of the two though and using Pedro from the B-team as another option. Borja, who returns from Murcia, might take his place with the reserves.

  • Ringo

    I’d sell Costa, Salvio is way more useful for this time, plus, he has a great chance to be a starter next year.
    He’s very versatile and in this squad he’s Diego’s best replacement.

  • AtleticoFanInDublin

    I would like to see Borja Galan be given a few chances from the bench.

  • Alberto

    AtleticoFanInDublin, there’s not any player called Borja Galan. I think you mean Borja Bastón, who played on loan for Murcia last season. However, I think he’s not ready for Primera Division. My first option would be signing Burak Yilmaz from Turkey, I think he’s a really good striker. If they don’t sign him, I’d sell Salvio to a Portuguese team, he has played well there and they will offer a good amount of money. And then, I’ll choose Diego Costa for the bench.

  • Javi Lozoya

    There is another player named Borja Galan, he plays for the youth teams.

  • Javi Lozoya
  • AtleticoFanInDublin

    Yeah it’s the youth player I meant.
    It would be great if Pedro went on loan to another la liga team. We can’t write him off yet.

  • shay

    Lozoya i’m rubbish for speaking my mind? you ass

  • Sebyk

    @shay: Just ignore him, he’s the local Mr. I-know-everything and my-opinion-is-the-only-correct-one. Whenever you have a different opinion, he offends you. Just don’t mind him, he’s a kid just trying to look important…

  • Epoy

    If i were to choose between the 2, id rather have Salvio than Diego Costa… Salvio can also provide cover in the wings..

  • Shlomgar

    Both are not AtletiBench material in my opinion. If sold, we can make some financial breathing space, and than loan Tello or Hire Tamudo, who, if my spanish non speaking is correct, is a free agent as well and a proven Ace in La Liga.

    @Javi Lozoya, first, and I’m really embarrassed having to explain this thing here, but Shay is a common Israeli name, quite easy to pronounce actually, and not an old one quite modern. I’ll be happy to hear about your thoughts on the subject but as the title of this website is not Names Origins, that would be stupid.
    Second, Leo Franco was rubbish. At the time he was forced to share a season with Coupet, spending time on and off the pitch, both were rubbishly lousy. and it’s not like he is getting any better outside the club no. Last season I really cant remember anyone worse than him, though I’m possibly forgetting one or two. Oh yes Kameni… He’s rubbish as well…
    Last, I guess you are right about defending Perea, I’m sorry but I really like the guy. He always added an extra aspect to our defence, even if not a good one.

    Peace guys, stop getting so emotional…

  • palc

    Manolo Preciado has passed away. Shocking news. He was all set to take over at Villarreal. RIP.

  • shay


  • Hard luck Javi Lozoya but the others are right Leo Franco is Rubbish but i am still RESPECTING your opinion. That is what we have to do here respect each others opinion. If you dont get the ass out and go support Real Madrid. Because thats what Real Madrid fans do….. Quarrel Quarrel Quarrel. I hope you guys hear me out

  • And I am not Referring to any ONE person I am referring to all you who get on like @$$*$

  • @Palc yeah I am sorry for Manuel Preciado. He did well at Sporting despite relegation. Infact he got them promoted and we wouldn’t have known them if it weren’t for him.

  • shay

    Well said Randy!!
    No harsh feeling Javi 🙂

    P.S Leo Franco still rubbish !!