Off the back of our cup successes this year, Atlético will be looking to improve on its domestic performances and will be fighting to defend its Europa League title this season. The summer transfer window ended yesterday, and here is a summary of all of our transactions, made to help us achieve our target of a top-four la Liga finish and repeat Europa League glory.
We began the pre-season with plenty of talent between the sticks. With David de Gea the undisputed starter after a spectacular debut season, we had three viable backup options in Sergio Asenjo (though he’s out until at least January), Roberto and Joel. The club was looking to offload surplus, but this appeared difficult given Sergio Asenjo’s injury, which ruled him out for six months. After a solid showing while on loan at Real Zaragoza, Roberto was our best bet to bring in much needed cash.
Roberto (sold to Benfica – €8.5m) Atleti brought back Roberto Jiménez Gago in the summer after he spent the second half of last season on loan at Real Zaragoza, where he helped los Maños avoid relegation. The Atlético cantera product was to serve as David de Gea’s backup, presumably until Asenjo fully recovered from injury. However, in late June, Portuguese side Benfica made the hefty offer of €8.5m for the 24-year old, an amount that was simply too good to refuse.
Quique called up Atlético B goalie Joel Robles to replace Roberto as De Gea’s substitute. Iago Herrerín was signed from Athletic Bilbao to take over goalkeeping duties for the B team.
Atleti conceded an astronomically high number of goals in its domestic campaign of 2009-10, perhaps the largest contributing factor to the club’s mediocre ninth place finish. We ended the season with a goal difference of -4, conceding on average 1.6 goals a game.
Manager Quique Sánchez Flores made it clear that if the club was to be successful in the near future, he would need quality defensive reinforcements.
Filipe Luís (Deportivo – €13.5m) After long, drawn-out negotiations, a deal was finally struck between Atleti and Deportivo, and the two sides eventually agreed a €13.5m deal for the Brazilian left-back. The late July signing was one of our most exciting transfers of the summer.
Diego Godín (Villarreal – €11m) The Uruguayan central defender completed his move from Villareal to Atleti in mid-August. Godín played alongside countryman Diego Forlán while representing Uruguay at the World Cup in South Africa, helping the national team to a fourth place finish in the tournament. Atleti bought the centre-back’s rights for €11m, an amount which could be increased by €2m if certain incentives are met.
Though Atlético flirted with the idea of bringing in right-back Rod Fanni from Rennes all summer, even reportedly reaching an agreement with the French club for €4.5m, the move never materialised. The closing of the transfer window has now completely ruled out the possibility of his arrival.
Mariano Pernía (released) The club released the 33-year old defender in July after a four-year spell in Madrid. Upon fully recovering from a severe car accident in which he broke his clavicle and suffered other injuries in July 2009, Mariano never regained a starting position. The Argentine left-back appeared in only two games last season with the rojiblancos.
Pablo Ibañez (West Brom – free). Pablo signed with English side West Bromwich Albion in early June, having spent six years with Atleti. The former Spanish international fell out of favour with fans and coaching staff alike in his final season at the Calderón.
Leandro Cabrera (Recreativo – loan) Left-back Lele was loaned out to second division side Recreativo Huelva in order to get more playing time and experience, as he was set to sit on the bench in Madrid for another season. The signing of Filipe Luís further hampered his chances of seeing much action this year.
When Tiago arrived on loan from Juventus in January, it didn’t take long for him to earn a starting spot in our midfield. The Portuguese international was reportedly very pleased with his transfer to Madrid, and seemed sure to sign a permanent deal with Atleti in the summer. Juve and Atlético eventually settled on a reduced fee, however, Tiago was going to be forced to accept a drastically reduced salary. The Turin side eventually agreed to loan out the player for one year, with the footballer’s salary remaining entirely intact.
We also brought in several talented youngsters to boost our options in midfield, as one of Quique’s stated goals for this campaign was to have at least one backup at every position.
Fran Mérida (Arsenal – free) After reports in January hinted at a verbal pre-agreement with Atlético, Mérida made things official in late May arriving on a free transfer from Arsenal. Once in Madrid, the former Barcelona youth product signed a five-year contract with Atleti, the club he has supported since childhood.
Tiago (Juventus – loan) After a months long holdout that finally ended in mid-August, the Portuguese midfielder, a man that Quique considers essential to his plans, returned on a one-year loan from Juventus. The loan fee is for €500,000 and we will also be responsible for paying the 29-year old’s €2.8m wages this year.
Mario Suárez (Mallorca – €1.8m) Mallorca purchased the midfielder from us in 2008, but we bought him back this summer for €1.8m, taking advantage of a buy-back clause in his contract. Mario was impressive as a regular fixture in Gregorio Manzano’s Mallorca side that finished in fifth last season.
José Manuel Jurado (Schalke – €11m) Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 announced the signing of Jurado just a day before the transfer window shut. His move came just hours after scoring Atlético’s first goal of the season against Sporting at the Vicente Calderón. José Manuel’s departure leaves our roster extremely thin on the wings, and though the move appeared to make a lot of business sense, it has left many Atlético supporters scratching their heads as no replacement was signed. José left for €11m, with a further €1m in future incentives.
Rubén Pérez (Deportivo – loan). A promising cantera midfielder, Rubén was sent to Deportivo la Coruña on a two-year loan as part of the deal for Filipe Luís.
Keko (Cartagena – loan) Seen by many as a possible replacement for Jurado upon the Andalusian’s departure to Schalke, Keko was instead loaned out the day before the window for one-year to second division side FC Cartagena. The fan favourite was coming off a wonderful showing at the U19 European Championships this summer, having captained Spain throughout the tournament en-route to a runner-up finish.
As has become customary this time of year, the biggest clubs throughout Europe were making plans with our superstar strikers Kun and Forlán in mind, though club president Enrique Cerezo insisted all summer long that they weren’t going anywhere. And so it was, the transfer market came to a close yesterday and our lethal attack duo remained with Atleti for at least one more year, much to the delight of Colchonero supporters everywhere.
Quique was looking to find a third and perhaps even a fourth forward that could help keep the pace in the attack whenever our stars were rested, or in the event of an injury.
Diego Costa (returned from loan) The Brazilian striker won the team’s last non-EU passport slot this pre-season, beating out Eduardo Salvio. He had spent the last three years on loan with three different clubs, most recently at Valladolid, where he was sent as part of the deal that brought us Asenjo last year.
Eduardo Salvio (Benfica – loan) The Argentine youngster failed to impress his coach this pre-season and lost his place in the squad to Diego Costa. Benfica, who had previously purchased Roberto from Atlético, returned for more business and agreed to a one-year loan deal for Toto.
Ibra (Numancia – loan) Senegalese forward Ibrahima Baldé was very reluctant to leave Atlético after refusing to go to Recreativo and Albacete, despite agreements reached with those clubs for his services. He finally accepted a deal last week that sent him to Numancia for one-year.
So who were your favourite buys of the summer? Any players you are particularly glad to let go? Let us know.