Transfer round-up: Squad shake up underway

Rojiblancos looking to finalise squad for 2014/15 before the Super Cup

Ex-Atleti Filipe battles with new signing Jesus Gamez (pic: taipei)

Ex-Atleti Filipe battles with new signing Jesus Gamez (pic: taipei)

By the time Atlético finally receive their La Liga title at the end of the month, those who lift the famous trophy will be a very different set to those who triumphed at the Camp Nou back in May.

The transfer window has really started to heat up since the signing of Antoine Griezmann last week, with the Frenchman’s arrival sparking a flurry of activity in and out of the club.

Málaga captain Jesús Gámez will become the our eighth summer signing after completing a medical on Thursday, meanwhile operación salida is well underway as various players pack their bags and prepare for life away from the Spanish capital.

With Griezmann, Mandžukić and Oblak already in, it’s been suggested that the big money has already been spent this summer, but that does not mean we cannot expect more business.

Given the volume of players who have left since the end of the season, the focus now is on strengthening the squad in order to compete in all three competitions once again.

Last year we had two players for each position, and with Simeone’s reluctance to change his trusted XI unless absolutely necessary, this resulted in some players not getting the minutes they wanted and gradually becoming unsettled.

The plan now is for a smaller squad of just 20 players, all able to be counted on when needed and compete for a starting place, which should push each and every member to perform at their optimum level.

Cristian Rodríguez has repeatedly underlined his desire for more minutes and was left out of the squad that travelled to Izmir for Wednesday’s friendly against Galatasaray, despite a move to Sunderland falling through.

Javier Manquillo also failed to make the trip, instead flying to the UK to tie up a two-year loan to Liverpool. Many have questioned the decision to let the young right-back go, although he did hint via Twitter that we may not have seen the last of him in red and white.

Back in Madrid were Emiliano Insúa and Josuha Guilavogui, the latter expected to join Wolfsburg sooner rather than later. With the arrivals of Gámez and Ansaldi, there is also no place for Insúa, and he could move to Portuguese champions Benfica as a replacement for Guilherme Siqueira.

We shouldn’t expect to see any additional signings in defence (barring another last minute Heitingazo), but further forward, there are concerns that should Mandžukić pick up an injury, no back-up has been brought in and Léo Baptistão is also expected to move on.

Chicharito has been linked, and although at first it looked to just be speculation driven by the Mexican media, the Guardian reported earlier in the week that we were pondering a bid for him and Shinji Kagawa, both said to be unfancied by Manchester United and new boss Louis Van Gaal.

As suggested by the Kagawa link, we are not just pursuing a centre-forward, but also another attacking player to provide an alternative to Koke, Griezmann and Arda. With Adrián, Diego and Sosa all gone, back-up options are very limited as things stand.

There were rumours a few weeks ago that the conflict in Ukraine could facilitate a return for José Sosa, who has been training alone in Madrid recently with permission from parent club Metalist Kharkiv. However, their asking price is not seen as favourable by the Rojiblanco management.

Italian transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio also continues to link us with Torino playmaker Alessio Cerci, but again, there seems to be quite a gap between the valuation of the two clubs. We also await news on Zakaria Bakkali, although things have gone a little quiet on his proposed move from PSV.

What’s clear is that we will see plenty more movement on the banks of the River Manzanares, but time is running out and with just 11 days now until the Super Cup, we will have to move fast in order to close the squad for the season starts.

Are you happy with the names that we are said to be pursuing? Can this year’s squad improve on last?

  • Moayad

    Yes happy. But i don’t know why Atleti reported with a lot if players recently and no one of then joined. I hope so things get resolved.
    Also maybe still some chance of Schurrle.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I have mixed emotions, I’m happy about the signings but I’m questioning our continued policy of loaning out our younger players. Leo needs to stay imo and I also preferred a player like josuha to stick around this season along with saul also, I’ve unbiasly watched the squad last season and honestly those two are better than mario suarez if you care to admit it or not they just need time to GEL with the squad.
    Looking to loan leo out is silly right now I mean for heavens sake Adrian stuck around here for a long ass time and didn’t prove anything but a guy who’s hungry to prove his worth can’t be kept?

  • Dircil

    Perhaps El Cholo relies on experienced players rather than youngsters. Oliver & Gimenez are examples!

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    And when our “experienced” players get injured or tired or just aren’t performing then what? I don’t want to sound all pessimistic and angry but even if that’s how El Cholo thinks, isn’t that just wrong?

  • Ali Faried

    I’m happy with the signings. I agree with loaning out Oliver and Manquillo. Have you seen how Saul progressed by playing a bigger role at Vallecano? I’ve watched Oliver’s few games with Porto, and believe me when I say it was the best decision. He’s gaining the confidence and experience needed to succeed at Atleti, as well as Manquillo at Merseyside. I also think Giminez will be loaned out, and Insua to stay. That is evidence of Cholo playing Inusa at CB rather than LB, and Insua is okay with less minutes. The reason why I see Saul staying while Joshua leaving is the mere fact that Saul is much more versatile. He can provide cover at CB, DM, CM and CAM. Where as Joshua is strictly DM. Now upfront we need another established #2 forward, while Leo being loaned out, and RG8 as a #3 forward.

  • Kulan

    One thing that we have learnt since Caminero came is that he uses the media to withdraw attention from the signings that he actually is working on. At least that goes for the big signings (Greizmann, Villa etc). I hope that is the case at the moment since I don’t think any of the roumoured players will add enough quality footboll-wise (except Schurrle, but that will not happen).
    My guess is that they are working on a budget solution, meaning Sosa and Torres on loan, but I really hope that they are working on a deal with Firmino. He would be perfect in every aspect even though he would cost the club a fair amount. He has all the necessary qualities to become a world class player, plus that he can play as a nr 10, a forward and on the wings.
    He is the missing piece!

  • Ali Faried

    As for the striker, I hear we were linked with Andy Delort. Should be fairly cheap, with a good eye for goal.

  • ade divine

    yes of course.i think when mario and antoine get firing, they will be hard to stop.moreover attackwise, i see our squad better this year than last!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I wouldn’t call it a shake up, and in fact, I’m very angry about what I keep reading in the social networks and in some Atleti websites and blogs that more than half of the squad have left,
    some people are talking about 14 players, they are counting Aranzubia, the big joke, Asenjo and Roberto who weren’t even here last season and they are not at Atleti level
    they are counting Roben Perez who hasn’t put on Atleti shirt for 4 seasons, Diego, who only came in January and wasn’t anything near to Diego of 2011-12 but yet he asked for 5 million/season salary to stay
    they know very well that El Cholo doesn’t rotate, and he will be even more reluctant to rotation after being La Liga champion, but yet they don’t want us to loan Oli, Manqui, Gimenez, Leo & Josuha

    Our squad last season was of 14 players, the others played less than 1000 minutes (out of total 5520 minutes Atleti played last season) or a little above 1000 (Toby, Insua & Cebolla)
    Even non Atleti fans know very well that we played the last season with 14 players,
    and from those 14, only 5 have left, and only 3 of them we wanted to keep : Courtois, Filipe & Costa, while almost everybody asked to let go of Villa & Adrian

    Do not get me wrong, I’m not defending Gil & Cerezo, I’m one of their biggest haters, they have done & still doing a lot of bad things, but selling half of the squad is not one of them .. this is a giant overstatement

    I’m satisfied with our transfer market, although I believe we still desperately need one more striker and one more playmaker
    We replaced THE ONLY 3 KEY PLAYERS who have left (Courtois, Filipe & Costa) with 5 who are better, on the same level or very close to them (Moya/Oblak, Siqueira/Ansaldi & Mandzukic) .. while Griezmann is a bonus .. a very big one

    My only upset is loaning the youngsters, in the time we see young players like Januzaj, Pogba, Varane, Raheem Sterling getting a lot of minutes with very big clubs
    BUT this is Simeone’s style, the style that won us La Liga and almost won us UCL

    So I guess we have to keep calm and trust El Cholo

  • Luis

    I’m happy with our signings so far but I think the second striker role, carried out by Villa last season, is a gap we need to fill – and fill with quality. Whatever your opinion on Villa, his 15 goals were influential in our title win. I’ve got no doubt that Mandzukic will perform for us but we need someone else who can find the back of the net as well.

  • Kris

    I agree with you. It seems Cholo doesn’t have a vision for the future of the club and focuses only on the present. That is not a very good thing for a club that wants to keep growing every season and stay atop for decades and decades and not just for some seasons. I trust Cholo too, but when it comes to rotating players and looking to make stars our own Cantenaros, he is a little scared, it seems(and should be as well). Hope Simeone proves me wrong this season, by turning Saul into another star like he has done with so many other players.

  • Kris

    Costa scored a great goal today. You’ve go to give it to the guy no matter what. He has got skills needed to be a great player.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    My worries are your worries it seems. All we can do is hope tho

  • David in San francisco

    IMO I think the 2 year loans are great. IMO we don’t see the young guns in training like Cholo does and I think they go out on loan for the necessary experience. Cholo wants to win now – as does Mourinho- and that’s the reason behind Chelsea spending money on Filipe, Costa. I have little doubts Manquillo and Guilavogui will be back in two years time close to being top class alternatives and just hitting their peak. In the meantime, Cholo and Caminero have brought in guys with experience and ability to help us challenge on 3 fronts now with Gamez , Ansaldi (all late 20s and in their prime ). I believe this year for Saul would be similar to Kokes first year with Quique at the helm. Surely he’ll go onto becoming a legend like our Koke!!

  • Abdullah Karam

    There is some rumors about a mexican striker name Raul Jimenez i dont know him but when i sow alot of his youtube videos Man ,, I FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS BEAST!!
    He is a real BEAST ,, Check him out guys 🙂

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I disagree with your agreement with me !
    you make it sound like I share your opinion, that El Cholo “doesn’t have a vision for the future of the club” .. I don’t

    I believe El Cholo does have a vision and a foresighted plan, it’s just that giving the youngsters a chance to grow in the club is not part of that plan

    He interfered with Lukaku loan operation which was almost done and stopped it because he wanted a long-term replacement for Costa
    He -with recommendation from Mono- chose Oblak over Navas and made us pay a lot more money making him the most expensive GK in La Liga history

    Obviously, the man is planning for the future, and as a mater of fact, loaning the young talents to get some experience is -by definition- planning for the future !

  • Kris

    I can see where you are thinking when you say our Canteranos and youth will get lots of experience to become a top player for the future. There’s a perfect example to back up what you’re saying in Thibaut Courtois. He developed perfectly well. Gained loads of experience to go back to his parent club as one of the best goalkeepers of the world, if not the best.

    But, if you believe constantly loaning out is going to help develop young talents gain the experience and skills, I have a very long list of players with great potential turning in to nobodies to prove you wrong.This whole loaning thing could either create, break, revive of completely fuck up your career. Everybody already mentions how it will make or revive a player’s career but nobody seems to give a crap about how it can affect a player too.Man, for fuck’s sake Bojan Krkic had so much potential, man, loved the dude. Ended up being constantly loaned out to other clubs, resulting in his performances going down and not getting enough playing time.Freddy Adu goddamnit! I am not the most pessimistic person in the world but I have seen way too many young players being loaned out and in the end, having nowhere to go as they have been abandoned by their parent club and the loaned club. We have many examples from our own club with such situations.

    From a psychological point of view, some players can be hurt really bad by loans. Things like being not good enough to play for his parent club can start running a player’s mind. Worse is when you are not even getting as much minutes in the loaned club. (Again, I am not trying to be pessimistic but Wenger just bought Mathieu Debuchy for 15 million euros, and I don’t see Manquillo starting ahead of him anytime soon.) It can also be very hard for a player to adapt to a new country, new system, new players, new ways and may find time being wasted and put down by the media, teammates, manager, fans for making one single mistake when you haven’t played competitively for ages.

    What if it all goes wrong for the player and is looked down by the parent club and the loaned club.

    I would rather a Canterano from our club played for Atleti B than be loaned out. At least he will be helping our own team improve and maybe get promoted to the segunda. He will learn there the fundamentals of being a player for the first team, or at least I am hoping that’s what kids are being taught there. So, when Cholo likes a player from segunda, he could start calling him up to the first team and giving him chances and ultimately being a player for the first team. Hell, slap a price tag of a 100 million euros to a top prospect from our youth, like did Real Madrid to Jese.We want to be a top club for a long time, start acting like a damn top club. Don’t be fricking buying a 29 year old right back just because he has experience. We already have a mo’foing 29 year old right back. Why not let the kid that’s a decade younger than the 29 y.o to learn from him! There’s so many ways. I ain’t no manager, so I know Cholo has already figured out much more ways to make this work out but he just seems a little too scared to start putting it in effect.

    Shit, that was long!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    yeah, that was long, but not longer than my usual comments though !

    first, let me point out that Manqui is in Liverpool not Arsenal, you was very angry that you mixed them up

    and second, I hear you, long term loan and to different clubs is bad, but we don’t do that (except in the case of Ruben Perez)
    Saul came back after one season, RG8 too -although he wasn’t young- but he came back a totally different player
    yes, Manqui & Josuha will both stay out for 2 seasons, but with the same club

    I believe we chose their destinations very carefully,
    Oliver to Porto, a club that is used to polish rough diamonds, probably will play in the CL, they need to beat Lille which looks not so difficult, their coach is Lopetegui who have known Oliver since he was a little kid and coached him in Spain U17, U19, U21 & U23

    Manqui to Liverpool, also in the CL and could compete again for EPL title, while he will compete with Glen Johnson, and he can easily put him on the bench and take his place, especially with a coach like Rodgers who have no problem giving full chances to young players like Sterling and Coutinho (but he doesn’t win trophies like Simeone, at least not yet)

    and Wolfsburg for Guilavogui is a good choice also

    calm down my friend, we are not gonna make another Bojan,
    what happened to him was because Barca had 5 or 6 of the best players in the world in his position .. we don’t have that !

    I understand your anger, especially when we see that Koke won Simeone’s trust from day one and became a starter after only half a season, or from the first complete season for Simeone, and he was at the same age of Oliver and Manquillo or a little older, but if we trusted him with making the-then-little-boy Koke a starter then we should also trust him with NOT making the same thing with Oli & Manqui

    Manqui has been with the first team for 2 seasons, and he has learned all he can learn from the 29 year old RB, now he needs to play to learn the rest, and he needs to play a lot, but Simeone simply doesn’t want or doesn’t know how to do that, so he would have been benched, so it was the best decision to loan him and sign another 29 year old RB with a huge experience for only 2 million euros and bench him instead !
    yes, Gamez will be benched, and he is the first one to know that and he has no problem with that
    take it this way :
    in many clubs, and because the GK is better to not be rotated, the second GK is old, usually over 30, so he both has a lot of experience and has no problem setting on the bench for almost the whole season
    Simeone, for some reason or another, believe the whole 11 are better to not be rotated !

    I have no doubt that both Oli & Manqui will become better players and will not turn into Bojan
    BUT I’m still afraid that we could lose them if we got big offers, especially from the clubs we loaned them to, but we all afraid also of losing all our players, and if that happened, it won’t be Simeone’s fault nor responsibility, it will be Cerezo’s and Gil’s

    Crap .. that was longer 🙂

  • Kris

    Holy shit you are right! I mixed it up completely. I don’t know what I was thinking. Manquillo actually played 85 minutes today in Pool’s 4-0 win against Dortmund and I’ll be the first to tell you on here, he wasn’t that bad. Actually him and that CB Lovren were solid! Lol whatever the hell I was on when typing that comment! I think Manquillo will actually be a starter over Glen Johnson. He proved it today that he is much better than Johnson. He will fit in perfectly with the rough n tough BPL just like the American kid that just signed for Tottenham; Yedlin. Their playing styles are very similar but Manqui is a little more mature when it comes to decision making. Manqui is also a better defender than Yedlin. Manquillo has his problem set but what of he won’t want to come back after the loan’s over? Juanfran will be 31, Gamez 31. We will need another RB, no? Where we gonne look then? I know we have a buyback option for Javi but what if HE doesn’t want to come back? Is he obliged to because of the buy back option or he doesn’t have to? Can somebody enlighten me with how this buyback option works?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I asked about that few days ago but nobody answered me, but it was “is the purchase option for Liverpool could force us to sell if they chose to use it”
    Martin Rosenow works at a law firm in Miami, so let’s ask him when he starts writing again, the aftermath is coming back in few weeks
    Manqui could like it there and decide to stay, but also he could have stayed with us then receive an offer from England and decide to leave also
    so, I wouldn’t blame the loan if we lost him

  • Chewie

    Moyá; Gámez, Godín, Miranda, Ansaldi; Mario, Gabi, Juanfran, Cristian Rodríguez; Raúl García y Mandžukić – interesting line-up for today’s game. Is Juanfran going to remember his winger past? And Gamez to play right away alongside Ansaldi. Hope for a more entertaining game than all the previous ones. Aupa Atleti!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    and to be more interesting, Guilavogui is starting against us
    his very first game with Wolfsburg !

  • Chewie

    I suggest Raul Garcia to change his surname officially for Golcia. What a man!

  • Kris

    Raul Garcia GOAL!!

  • Kris

    I hope it’s nothing serious with Mario.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    doesn’t look serious to me, I think it’s just a little concussion

  • Kris

    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Atleast we have Saul if anything major was to happen without sacrificing Koke in the CM position.

  • Kris

    GOALL!!! Raul Garcia!! The Koke effect. Awesome play from Atletico!

  • Kris

    Mandzukic GOALLLLL!!!! 3-0 to Atleti.

  • Kris

    Damnit! Griezmann own goal.

  • Kris

    And scores Koke!! Ohhhhhh!! What a beauty!!

  • Kris

    What a ball from Tiago and selfless play by Griezmann and Hector with yet another goal in preseason.

  • Kris

    Fantastic second half display from Atletico. Enjoyed it.

  • Chewie

    At last a stunning performance! Now I think we don’t need a second striker – just pay those 20 million to Hector and I’m sure he’ll step up and become a hell of a player. Overall a solid display from the whole team. Wolfsburg stood no chance and the own goal only lightened the guys up, resulting in an immediate response scored by Koke. Mandzukic seems tired and off-beat, maybe the training regimen’s taking its toll.

  • Kris

    Exactly. Pay those 20 million to Hector but he doesn’t have the “experience”, so probably won’t fit in to Cholo’s team. Koke had an immediate effect in the team, just as soon as he came on the midfield started work like a unit. Mandzu will start getting used to the training soon, he went from training with a pretty boy Pep to Cholo so of course it’s going to be a little difficult. But, he wasn’t getting the service he needs to be that target striker that’s why I think he was a little frustrated. At least he got a goal. I am happy for him. He’ll only get better. Griezmann fits right in with the Atletico team. He stole some balls from the opposing team and was tracking back. Atleti are a better attacking team with Griezmann. Defense still great with Miranda and Godin and from what I have seen so far, Siqueira seems to be an improvement from Filipe in terms of attacking. Moya wasn’t tested much but made a few good saves. Overall it was a great second half performance from Cholo’s team and I think we will only get better from last year.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    earlier today Atleti B played a friendly against Valladolid B (we won 3-2)
    but Hector, their first striker wasn’t with them, instead he was with the first team in Germany
    it seems that Simeone gonna give him some decent amount of minutes this season, in the time we all expect that Leo will be loaned

    Simeone’s choices are sometimes odd and hard to be explained, but they are always right, Raul Garcia is a screaming example

  • There’s a big buzz on Raúl Jimenez now. The guy seems to be really really good and is also tracked by Oporto.

  • Erik

    Kris and Ahmad, thanks for the great post. They were long but enjoyable reads. The only real shocker I saw was Oliver going to Porto. You are right about one thing, Porto can help shape a player into something special. But I might have kept him as a sub. His ball handling skills looked amazing too me. Very similar to Arda. (I am no expert, so you can disagree and I will not take offense.) I actually look forward to seeing Oliver play. Looks like I will have to wait another season.

  • Erik

    Billy Edwards is right. Atleti only lost 5 of the starting 14. Which is a huge percentage of players. The replacements are equal to better than what we had. With Raúl Jiménez being added, I am not sure Chicharito or Shinji Kagawa will be added. I wish they would, because then Cholo would be able to rely on a 22 man team and not only 14 of them. Today we have the players that could win it all, but now to truly continue to being elite, we must build depth. Watching the last 30 minutes of the Champions League final proved that it is important.