Opinion: Camacho not the one to go?

camacho gol betis

This week Tiago Mendes arrived in Madrid to complete Atlético’s set up. We have signed two defenders, kept Tiago and signed a third striker in Diego Costa. With the signings we’ve made we have strengthened the starting XI, but also made sure that Quique Sánchez Flores has plenty options on the bench. He might even have too many.

With the arrival of Tiago there are now six central midfielders at the coach’s disposal, while only two spots are available. Tiago seems to have earned a spot in the starting line-up after his impressive six month loan spell for us last season and will pair up with the undisputed Paulo Assunção to form a reliable duo in midfield. Behind them in the pecking order are Raúl García, Mario Suárez, Ignacio Camacho and Koke. The latter is a highly rated Spanish youth international (as were the three others) but will most likely remain in Atlético B this season.

Out of these six, Ignacio Camacho might very well be the most popular among fans. At 17 he debuted for Atlético in a spectacular home win against Barcelona. Out of the blue the midfielder was handed a start by coach Javier Aguirre and impressed in a midfield battle against the likes of Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. Atlético won 4-2, with Camacho one of the stand out performers.

Camacho went on to play ten matches that season, as he helped Atlético qualify for the Champions League. However, in the following summer Paulo Assunção arrived from Oporto and Camacho would hardly feature at all in the 2008/09 season, which led to concern among the fans. Their top prospect didn’t get any games and should probably have gone out on loan. But the following season was more of the same. Camacho played just twelve games this past season and was mostly used as a late substitute. That’s why many expect Nacho to go out on loan, surely after the arrival of midfielder Mario Suárez. The media reported of strong interest by Spanish clubs, mainly Deportivo and Mallorca.

However, our pre-season shows that Mario’s arrival may not have an effect on Camacho’s chances. We all assume that there are six players available for two midfield spots, but Quique’s choices in our recent friendlies show there are actually two separate roles; that of a defensive midfielder and a central midfielder. Assunção and Camacho obviously qualify for the first role, while it’s the second position that is heavily contested, with Raúl García, Mario Suárez and Tiago all keen to make the position their own.

In the seven matches we’ve played so far this pre-season, it only occured once, for fourty-five minutes, that the roles were mixed up, when Raúl García to Assunção’s place in yesterday’s friendly against Sporting Gijón. Otherwise it was always Assunção or Camacho coupled with Raúl García or Mario. Instead of the fifth choice in midfield, it seems Camacho is actually the 2nd choice, at worst.

While Assunção’s position is pretty much undisputed, one who looks at the facts could be made to believe that Camacho is actually close to taking over his spot. In five of the seven friendlies we played, it was Nacho who started, and twice played the full ninety minutes. In total the Spaniard played 315 minutes. Assunção started just twice, including one full match, and played 270 minutes.

With Tiago’s arrival it is rumoured that one midfielder has to leave, and many pointed to Camacho as the victim. He is easier to sell or loan on the market than our other midfielders, as he has been linked to multiple – mostly Spanish – clubs. Based on this it would seem though that Camacho is the direct replacement for Assunçao and that it’s one of the midfielders that occupy the other role that should leave. Raúl García and Mario Suárez are very much identical players and it’s unsure whether Quique has decided which out of the two he prefers. They haven’t been linked with transfers away from the club, but one seems expendable. The two of them were both given equal chances to impress in pre-season, with Mario played 358 minutes and Raúl just fourty less.

Assuming one midfielder has to leave, with Koke able to step up when needed, who would you prefer to let go?

Opinion articles are not the views of AtléticoFans and reflect only the opinions of the author.

  • Sash

    I have been rooting for Camacho since that game against barcelona (and a couple of games later where he scored two goals in the same match, don’t remember the opponent though) and I would like for him to stay in the club IF he gets to play. On the other hand a loan for Nacho would probably only do good as long as he arrives in a club where he can play a lot.

    The scenario I would like the most is for Assuncao and Camacho to share the defensive midfield position, where Nacho can play the “smaller teams” and for Mario Suarez and Tiago to share the central role, since Koke, Jurado and Fran can also play in the central role Raul Garcia is my choice to leave.

  • Sash

    Sorry for the duoublepost but I just have to say that this is my favourite Atletico website! Amazing work you guys

  • Andres

    Raul Garcia should leave…he’s not showing any progress, while Nacho is our future I hope..

  • Martin Rosenow

    Excellent analysis Derek.

    If it’s between Raúl García and Mario Suárez, I would think that for Quique the more expendable option would be Mario.

    If that’s the case, I hope we would be able to recover most of the big fee we paid to buy him back.

  • Well, while I’m not too sure whether Camacho can reach Assunçao’s game level I really would love the Atletico to sell that great deception Raul García has been for all of us who had high hopes on him. The thing is who would be willing to pay his €3M annual salary…the answer is pretty easy: just about no one. So I’m pessimistic about not having R. García on this year’s roster.

    Great job with the site. Really love it!

  • Leivinha

    Raul Garcia should leave. He adds no quality to the midfield. In his first few years he at least scored a goal or two but the last few yrs he has done nothing.

  • Arjit

    i hate raul garcia, what’s the point of having him on the team? he can’t do anything right. He’s so wasteful with the ball, thats the worst thing a central mifielder can be. Anwyays, all the best to camacho, i hope ge doesn’t give up. Abel resino gave him almost no chances at all. I think he knows himself that if he played more games he would be amazing by now. Assuncao’s legs are getting old, i’m sure as he slows down camacho will get more and more playing time. We actually did quite well in the europa league with the camacho/assuncao combination, but i do prefer tiago as one of central midfielders.

  • RojiBlanco

    Oof, calm down there Arjit. In his first (or second, can’t really remember) season, he was the most consistent performer and about the only one keeping the midfield a bit together. Everyone was expecting lots from him, but fact of the matter is that RG isn’t improving anymore. He is standing still and doesn’t make any progress, which concerns me. Only in the EL previous season did we see a reasonable Garcia, but besides that…well, nothing really. And if you look at it that way, I guess it’s only the best for everyone if Raulito heads to another club. Though I still like him as a player.