This season, Simeone has used four players at the left-back position. Last season, without counting the forced substitution of Alderweireld for Filipe Luis in the Champions League final, Cholo has used only two. But are any of them up to the standard of last season?
Guilherme Siqueira was signed from Granada this past summer and he was meant to help Atlético fans worldwide forget Filipe Luis. However, the Brazilian has been struggling defensively and has yet to show some consistency in the red and white jersey. So far, Siqueira has played 30 matches this season, with 19 appearances in the league.
Not only did Filipe Luis leave Atlético last season, but so did back-up Insúa.
The Argentine Cristian Ansaldi was signed on loan from Zenit as his replacement. The new arrival did have his slip ups in certain matches, but his superb crossing abilities and sound defensive work made some fans prefer him to Siqueira.
His good form allowed him to be called up for the Argentina squad. However, injuries have kept Ansaldi off of the pitch since November, and it is unknown when he will play again in the red and white of Atlético.
During Ansaldi’s injury absence and Siqueira’s occasional loss in concentration from matches, Cholo has had to experiment with other players for the left back position.
Youngster Lucas Hernandez was put to the test in the Copa del Rey matchup against Real Madrid. The 19-year-old put in an incredible performance, but has yet to appear in the left-back position again.
Next in line was new signing Jesús Gámez, a right back who can also play at centre-back if necessary. Cholo put him to the test and asked him to play left-back as well.
The first experiment, a match against Barcelona, was a complete disaster. Gámez had difficulties playing on the left side of the pitch. However, since then the Spaniard has put in stellar performances.
Atlético’s last match against Bayer Leverkusen was arguably the most important match of the season so far. Siqueira, after recovering from a hamstring injury, sat the match out, with Cholo preferring the out-of-position Gámez at left-back.
Whether this was tactical, or careful from Simeone, it’s still not known.
Meanwhile in London, Filipe Luis has been struggling to find minutes on the pitch. The ex-Atlético player has only played 1,613 minutes spread through 22 matches so far, the majority of these minutes in cup competitions.
In the league, Jose Mourinho prefers Cesar Azpilicueta. Filipe Luis has only played 90 minutes in the league five time this season.
Mourinho trusted the Brazilian left back in the Champions League group stage, but once they reached the knockout stages, Filipe Luis was left on the bench. The same fate awaited Filipe in the League Cup. He played all the matches possible except for the final.
With the Atlético identity ‘crisis’ in the left-back position and Filipe Luis struggling in his new home in London, is it wild to even think about re-signing Filipe Luis?
The English press has been running stories all week about Atlético’s interest in wanting to take Filipe Luis back.
Filipe spent four magnificent years with Atlético Madrid and surely Simeone would welcome him back, but would the fans?
He shocked Atlético fans when he submitted his transfer request in the summer transfer window.
Would it be wise to re-sign Filipe Luis or to find other options in the squad or in the transfer window?