Following a couple of weeks of at-the-crack-of-dawn training sessions and practices up to three times a day, Atlético boss Diego Simeone reportedly has a pretty good idea about who will be traveling to Monaco with him at the end of August.
According to Spanish paper AS, the Argentine tactician will narrow his squad down to 20 players for the looming 2012/13 campaign, with six footballers currently taking part in the grueling pre-season schedule set to be on their way out of the club.
Among them are: Joel, Leandro Cabrera, Rubén Micael and Diego Costa, all expected to be loaned out for the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, it is rumoured that Fran Mérida and Paulo Assunçao will be released by Atleti.
Should this indeed be the case, it is highly unlikely that playmaker Diego Ribas will be suiting up in red and white again, as Atlético do not have the funds necessary to bring him back to the Vicente Calderón permanently.
Prior to the start of pre-season, Raúl García was widely expected to be sold-off to the highest bidder after bringing up his market value in a remarkable season on-loan at Osasuna, however, the Pamplona-born midfielder has impressed ‘El Cholo’ and will likely be sticking around for another go with los Rojiblancos.
It also seems like homegrown defender Jorge Pulido will finally move up the pecking order and see an expanded role.
Reinforcements throughout the season will come in the form of youth products, with Atleti’s U-19 European Championship-winning trio of Óliver, Saúl and Manquillo said to be in store for multiple opportunities with the first team this year, though they will begin the term taking part in Segunda División B action with the B-team.
Unless a major sale is made prior to the closing of the summer transfer window, the team is largely set.
On Thursday afternoon, Simeone ended the training session with a 10-v-10 game without goalkeepers.
Team 1 included: Sílvio, Miranda, Godín, Filipe Luis; Gabi, Mario Suárez; Salvio, Raúl García, Arda Turan; and Falcao, while Team 2 included: Kader, Cata Díaz, Pulido, Cabrera; Tiago, Emre; Dani Márquez, Oliver, Cristian Rodríguez; and Borja González.