Once Alessio Cerci’s loan move to Milan is finally confirmed, it will take the number of players currently farmed out to other clubs by Atleti to 15 ahead of the second half of the season.
For various reasons, the rojiblanco management have really made use of the loan market this year, and not just as a means to bring Fernando Torres back to the club.
In some cases, players we have not been able to find buyers for have had to go out and perhaps put themselves in the shop window, but others are away to grow, improve and come back to try and work their way into Simeone’s team.
Of course, the first team at the moment is as competitive as it has ever been. The likes of Óliver Torres, Javi Manquillo and Léo Baptistão all struggled for minutes last year, but are amongst those prospering form loan moves and getting the valuable minutes that couldn’t be enjoyed at the Calderón.
Others, such as Borja, Rubén Pérez and Thomas have been shown faith by the club and given a chance to prove themselves, and then there are the likes of Emiliano Velázquez, young talents bought with a view to the future.
The same could also happen with Ángel Correa upon return from the South American U20 Championships, now that he has completed his move from San Lorenzo and been given the all clear to return following heart surgery.
Diego Costa, Gabi, Saúl and Mario Suárez are just names that have benefited from time away and returned as better players, and we hope that the current crop can follow their path.
We’ve taken the Christmas break as a chance to have a look at our loanees and review how they’ve been doing at this midway point in the season, so if you haven’t been following their progress, look no further.
ÓLIVER TORRES (Porto) – 20 games, 3 goals
Having joined up with Julen Lopetegui – a mentor to him at youth level for Spain – Óliver has overcome another shoulder injury to earn a place in Porto’s starting XI, no mean feat considering Colombian international Juan Fernando Quintero is his closest competitor.
The Dragons are a little off the pace domestically, but cruised through their Champions League group with Óliver a mainstay in midfield. He does a good job, keeping things moving and helping control the tempo of matches, but is yet to become one of the main players like Jackson. Early signs are promising and the fans seem to be happy with him, but we would like to see him begin imposing himself a little more and really showcasing the talent we know he has in abundance.
BORJA BASTÓN (Zaragoza) – 18 games, 11 goals
Now in his fourth season in a row on loan in Segunda, Borja is finally showing signs of the potential he showed as an up and coming youngster for Atleti. After difficult stints at Murcia and Huesca, and a promising but not totally convincing campaign with Deportivo last year, he has become the main man for Zaragoza and leading the line with confidence.
The goals have dried up slightly after a rip-roaring spell in September and October, but his all round game looks to have improved, as well as his physical attributes. If he keeps this form up he could challenge for the pichichi award, and possibly even a return to his boyhood club.
JAVI MANQUILLO (Liverpool) – 16 goals, 0 goals
In and out of a Liverpool team struggling in defence, but is at least gaining good experience in a tough league in Europe. Manquillo won a decisive penalty in the Reds’ solitary Champions League win over Ludogorets and also started in the Bernabéu.
Overall he has been fairly impressive given his age, the fact he’s coming off the back of a lengthly injury and adapting to a new country, but still seems to be behind the much-maligned Glen Johnson in the pecking order. His loan is for two years though, so there is plenty of time for him to improve and possibly stake his claim for a return to the Calderón in 2016.
EMILIANO VELÁZQUEZ (Getafe) – 12 games, 1 goal
His signing went a little under the radar during the summer, but it looks as if – like Giménez – we have signed a potential fixture in both ours and Uruguay’s defence for the forthcoming years in Emiliano Velazquez. The 20 year-old is a regular at Getafe, and has been one of their most impressive performers this season. His stand out moment was arguably keeping out Lionel Messi and compatriot Luis Suárez in a 0-0 draw with Barcelona earlier this month. He also opened his goalscoring the following week with a late equaliser at Granada. One with a future in red and white, for sure.
LÉO BAPTISTÃO (Rayo) – 16 games, 7 goals
Many dismissed Leo as a flash in the pan after last season. We all know the story by now, he came into Rayo’s first team two years ago now playing without any pressure or fear, but soon tailed off following injuries and losing confidence. Last season was forgettable, as he struggled for minutes at Atleti and suffered relegation with Real Betis, but now he is back at Vallecas and regaining the form we saw back in 2012.
More or less starting from zero, he has quietly managed 7 goals this season and looking much more of a complete forward than in his six months at Atleti. Has the potential to follow in Diego Costa’s footsteps.
TOBY ALDERWEIRELD (Southampton) – 17 games, 1 goal
Impressing in the Premier League for Southampton, who are enjoying a very good season under Ronald Koeman. Toby has formed a good partnership with José Fonte, and scored his first goal on Boxing day in a win over Crystal Palace. The Belgian has already made Saints fans forget about Dejan Lovren, who left for £20m to Liverpool in the summer, suggesting that he could draw a similar fee should Atleti choose to sell. However, Toby stated when going out on loan he intended to return, so don’t draw a line over this one yet – especially if interest in our current defenders intensifies.
JOSUHA GUILAVOGUI (Wolfsburg) – 20 games, 1 goal
An important player at Wolfsburg, who are enjoying a great season so far and are well on course for Champions League qualification. He and Luiz Gustavo have formed a solid pairing in the German side’s midfield and are impressing in the Europa League as well, where Guilavogui scored his only goal of the season in a 5-1 win over Kuban Krasnodar. Chances of a return to Atleti are practically zero, which is a shame as he is no doubt a very capable player.
THOMAS PARTEY (Almería) – 13 games, 0 goals
Making very good progress at Almería, continuing his rapid rise through the ranks of Spanish football. When he joined Atleti in 2012 he was playing in the youth divisions, but has since spent a season in the second and third tiers and is now looking equally as impressive at the top level. Simeone is said to be a fan, and even if he doesn’t make it at Atleti, at 21 you would predict Thomas to have a successful career. Robust but intelligent in midfield, he is a regular in the Andalusian side’s midfield.
EMILIANO INSÚA (Rayo) – 11 games, 0 goals
Probably found his level at Rayo. Part of his season so far has been taken up by a couple of muscle injuries, but he is an undisputed starter in Paco Jémez’s team, something that was never possible at Atleti. You wouldn’t expect a return to be on the cards, but the left-back position is up for grabs should he really find his form in the second half of the season. One assist to his name so far, for fellow loanee Leo back in September at Levante.
RUBÉN PÉREZ (Torino) – 8 games, 0 goals
His fifth successive loan spell, but really struggling for any minutes at all at Torino after a couple of fairly solid seasons with Betis and Elche. Just one start in a Europa League qualifer to show for his time so far at the Italian club. Whether the club has any hope for him at all is unclear, but his contract must have been renewed at some point during the last few years.
KADER OUESLATI (Numancia) – 7 games, 0 goals
Not a regular with Numancia, but has featured here and there. Despite doing a good job as Atleti B captain, you can’t see any future for Kader with the first team, despite a few appearances back in 2012/13. He will be hoping to establish himself in the second half of the season and make a career in the professional levels of Spanish football.
SÍLVIO (Benfica) – 0 games, 0 goals
You may be surprised to hear that Sílvio is still on our books. You may not be surprised to hear that he has been injured, and is yet to feature so far this season. He did however make the bench for the game against Bayer Leverkusen a few weeks back, but anyone expecting a return to the Calderón may be waiting a while.
YASSINE ‘BONO’ BOUNOU (Zaragoza) – 0 games, 0 goals
Unlike Borja, former B-team ‘keeper Bono isn’t having the best time at Zaragoza. He has been back-up to highly rated Whalley at La Romareda and is yet to debut for his loan club.
ANDRE MOREIRA (Moreirense) – 0 games, 0 goals
“Who?” you may be asking. Us as well… 19 year-old Moreira signed in the summer but was immediately farmed out to Moreirense, for whom he is yet to feature. His agent? Jorge Mendes.
Have you watched any of our loan players so far this season? Who would you like to see return next season?