Atlético weakened by own sense of responsibility

Los Rojiblancos' newfound fiscal responsibility is inhibiting on-field product

Cholo, Cerezo and Caminero hold on to our last coins

Cholo, Cerezo & Caminero hold on to our last coin

In order to get their once-disastrous tax situation in order and abide by the increasingly stringent standards being implemented by the LFP and the Superior Sports Council of Spain (CSD), Atlético are being forced to curb spending on what us fans care about: improving the squad.

A report published in Spanish paper El Economista last week details how los Rojiblancos “have gone from being at the bottom of the class” when it comes to fiscal obligations to being “one of the most disciplined clubs in this regard”.

According to El Economista, Atleti will have paid close to €105 million to the Spanish Treasury Department, commonly referred to as Hacienda, by the end of this year as per the terms imposed by the tax authorities and made up of two payments of €52.5 million.

Madrid-based paper Marca reports that four more payments remain outstanding, broken up as follows:

2011: €52.5 million (already paid)

2012: €34.5 million (€34.5 million already paid, €16.5 million due before October)

2013: €15.5 million

2014: €15.5 million

2015-2017: Remaining balance of €80 million must be paid for, though terms have not been made known yet.

Should Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and his cohorts continue making timely payments, Atleti’s total tax debt of €216 million will be killed off by the end of 2017. A massive €66 million of that sum consists solely of interest generated by late fees.

Looking at the impending close to €17 million due by October, it’s no surprise Atlético have sold-off talented youngsters Eduardo Salvio and Alvaro Domínguez, and were unable to find a way to retain Diego.

In addition to losing quality depth over the summer, veteran team leaders Antonio Lopez, Luis Amaranto Perea, and Paulo Assuncao were also shown the door.

Extremely budget-friendly reinforcements Cata Díaz, Emre and ‘Cebolla’ Rodríguez were brought in for a grand total of €1 million, and Diego Costa and Raúl García return to the Vicente Calderón, but they aren’t enough to really fill the holes in the squad.

Barring a surprise additional signing, if you look back at the squad we had last season – thin as it might have been – it was stronger than the one we will be fielding on Sunday in Valencia.

The good news, for Atleti at least (bad news for La Liga in general aside from the two big bullies), is that all of our direct competitors are crumbling before our eyes as well.

The fiasco in Málaga has forced the Anchovies to part ways with stars Santi Cazorla and José Salomón Rondón, among likely others, and Athletic Bilbao have reportedly lost midfield bastion Javi Martínez, while their uber-idol Fernando Llorente has announced he is ready for bigger and better things and will probably be out the door as well.

In years past, Valencia have had to part ways with David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata.

The analysis of the depletion of the Spanish Primera División is better left to others, we’re only interested in Atleti here.

Our hopes for achieving our Champions League target rest on ‘El Cholo’s’ motivational abilities – how he gets his men to play harder for him (the so called Cholo factor) – and on the quality and maturity of our cantera; and why not, on the continued dismantling of our other Liga peers.

Do you agree? Are we worse off, the same, or better off than last year going into the start of the season?

  • Better of even though we lost Diego and Dominguez and Salvio i believe we can make top four once CHOLO i here for us.

  • Ringo

    There are still some strong, experienced players who will now be used to guide younger players for the coming years.
    The club is pretty lucky the talents are pretty good at this institution.

    Let’s see what’ll happen.

  • starvs

    Good to see we’ve already got the biggest hurdles, in terms of payment amounts, (mostly) behind us. 15m payment next summer is much less crippling than 34 mil.

    How the fuck we buy Falcao in the same summer we paid 52 mil in taxes? Yeah we sold a lot of players, but damn. Thanks to Uncle Jorge, probably…

  • Alexander.I

    Starvs: We just paid €12,5 milion last summer.. The rest I think will be paid this and/or next year.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    of course we are better , the goal keeping is the same , in the defense Domínguez left but he wasn’t a starter , Silvio is fully cured from his injury & Juan Fran became an international player and a Euro winner . In the middle , yes Diego left but we kept Arda & Koke and there are great hopes on Oliver , and I think the best news is the comeback of Raul Garcia . In the attack we kept our best player Falcao , also kept Adrian … and Diego Costa is back . And I didn’t talk yet about the new signings : Emre , Cebolla & Cata Diaz !! So again , we are better

  • Ringo

    Salvio could have been great this year, but he wasn’t a starting player. I don’t think Diego will be missed too much, in the end… got that feeling.
    Defensive line is at least the same, but could be more stable, with the preseason, etc.
    Falcao started doing well in the second half of last season (remember screaming for him to be replaced by Adrian as first striker?), so if he keeps it going now, he’ll start in great form and that means more striking power.
    Midfield seems to be stronger, with more variety in quality, experienced players who can help players like Koke step up their game.
    CAM might start out a bit weaker, but I have faith someone will step up his game, could even be Garcia, I have a feeling he could do very well this time around, as 10, instead of 4/6/8.
    And you still have Adrian and Arda, Arda now more used to the league and language, etc, so could be better, as well.
    If no one slacks off, the team starts out stronger than last year.

  • Dircil

    so far, 3 of our signings are good in quality and I have no complaints over the transfer policy of Atleti this summer. Sometimes, as fans, we want some good player for our teams but financially, the team can not afford to buy them. Therefore, I’d say we have to be happy with what we have and hope that the team will excel in this season

  • Sam

    I’m feeling good about this season in terms of finishing 4th, but for La Liga as a whole, the outlook is miserable. Ringo brings up a good point with the experienced midfield being a good education for homegrown folks like Koke and I think the fact that the players are more used to playing together and in the league will make a difference.

    what we don’t have in new stock, we make up for in experience and team understanding.

  • starvs

    Think atleti’s summer business has been pretty great, considering a budget of 1 single million euro.

  • Gert

    I think we will do just fine. Nothing to worry about. We have a team, not 11 individuals. It’s amazing to see how filipe and Arda gel for example. If Cebolla shows us why he’s called that, our left flank will be deadly crossing everything for Falcao. Add to that we might see the coming of Quaresma (although most of you don’t like him) and he could be a good addition on the right.

    But I think sunday’s match will be crucial. Both for us and the team’s confidence!

  • Shlomgar

    Great piece Martin, tnx.

    I think it shows our board is not that stupid after all, and that we might have a plan up our sleeves. We know that Spain is in a bad financial place right now and with all those clubs in debt, we might see pressure from higher places to cover those, soon. And with Real and Barca, possibly, losing their enormous share of TV rights soon, we wipl might

  • Shlomgar

    We will might be on the position to challenge them in a couple of years…

    Wishful thinking yeah 🙂

  • I will admit this transfer season we actually did great business because we got 3 players for 1 million euros which is pretty good

  • Arjit

    Not only that, they’re useful additions too, especially cebolla. We also have two players coming back form loan who played very well (r. garcia, deigo costa) and some promising players who are looking to step up (oliver, kader, saul)

  • Sebyk

    Great article and great picture title 🙂