With a transfer ban looming and a new season on the horizon, Atlético Madrid have been busy in the summer window as they look to build their squad for 2016/17 and beyond.
The red and whites have so far managed to keep all of their main stars at the club, and have also brought in a number of new faces to strengthen the ranks and provide some extra competition in the squad.
While the likes of Diogo Jota and Axel Werner were bought more with the future in mind, Sime Vrsaljko, Nico Gaitán and Kevin Gameiro will be expected to make an impact right away.
Read on for a full lowdown on each of our three marquee summer signings:
The 28-year-old had been linked with a move away from Benfica for a number of years – with Manchester United a possible destination for the left-winger – but after six years playing in Portugal, Nicolás Gaitán finally earned himself a big-money transfer.
Diego Simeone spent €25million to sign a player who actually helped defeat Atlético in last season’s Champions League group stages. Gaitán scored one and assisted the other of Benfica’s goals in a rare 2-1 defeat at home for Atleti.
During that performance he displayed superb pace and trickery – skills that allowed him to score four goals and earn 16 assists in the league across the season.
In fact, no other player in Portugal recorded more assists than Gaitán over the past two years, with 27. So the new signing – perhaps at the peak of his career – can add another dimension to the already effective Madrid attack.
Simeone could choose to deploy the winger on the left side of a midfield four, playing 4-4-2, or in a 4-3-3 set up Gaitán could play wide in the front three.
The Argentinian was on the scoresheet in his first game in an Atlético shirt, in the recent friendly with Italian side Crotone. He linked up well with Yannick Carrasco – who may be competing with Gaitán for a starting place.
Seen as a long-term successor to Juanfran, the Croatian international signed a five-year deal at the Vicente Calderon having arrived from Italian club Sassuolo for around €18million. Sime Vrsaljko is 24-years-old and has made 21 appearances for his country.
Vrsaljko, who comes from the same town as Luka Modric, can be described as a ‘modern’ full-back – strong in the tackle and able to attack the flanks at great speed. In Serie A he showed he can listen to and apply tactical instructions on the pitch – which should be music to Diego Simeone’s ears.
After signing with Atleti, he revealed he had asked his international teammates Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic for some advice about life in Spain. Mandzukic, who spent a year in Atlético colours, described the way the club worked and backed Vrsaljko’s move to Madrid.
Whilst predominantly a right-sided full-back, Vrsaljko demonstrated his versatility at Euro 2016, playing at left-back during Croatia’s 2-1 victory against Spain in Group D.
More recently he impressed in the International Champions Cup friendly with Tottenham Hotspur in Melbourne, helping his new side keep a clean sheet in the 1-0 win.
It is unlikely that he will earn many league caps at first, and his debut season may replicate Stefan Savic’s campaign last year – featuring mostly in cup matches or coming in to the starting 11 to replace injured players.
Atlético’s marquee signing of the summer arrived at the club off the back of his best ever season.
After Carlos Bacca was sold to AC Milan, Sevilla fans fretted over who would replace their star striker, but Kevin Gameiro stepped up to the plate to deliver 29 goals in all competitions for the Andalusian club – his previous season-best was 21.
After scoring 67 goals in three years, the 29-year-old attracted serious interest from Barcelona and multiple English clubs. The Frenchman chose to sign for the Rojiblancos instead for a fee believed to be around €32m, putting an end to the speculation about Diego Costa returning to his old team.
With the chance to play for a top Champions League side, Gameiro now has a great opportunity to try and break into the France squad after being on standby for the Euros. The forward was a little unfortunate to miss out on a place at his home tournament, falling behind André-Pierre Gignac and Anthony Martial in the pecking order.
Gameiro can form a lethal partnership with his countryman, Griezmann. They appear similar in stature and both give the opposing defence headaches when hovering around the backline.
However, Gameiro will probably be deployed slightly in front of his new teammate – allowing Griezmann to travel with the ball and create chances from a deeper position. Atlético may have the attacking prowess to compete with the ‘BBC’ or ‘MSN’.
Are you happy with our summer business? Do we need to strengthen anywhere else?