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?