Atlético Madrid’s pre-season update

The good, the bad and what to expect as the 2011/12 La Liga approaches.

Gregorio Manzano instructs his players(

Gregorio Manzano instructs his players

Atletico has had quite a turbulent offseason. After the squad got together on the 4th of July, Gregorio Manzano has been working hard to ensure that the team is ready for the first La Liga game on the 21st of August against Real Sociedad.

It’s a tough job for a new manager to come in to a club and make the changes needed to help the players adjust to his preffered style of play. Throw in the departure of arguably Atleti’s two top players and it becomes even harder.

Here is the good and the bad of los Rojiblancos’ pretemporada so far, plus what to expect between now and the start of the season.

The Good

Yes, losing two players of the quality of Sergio Aguero and David De Gea is something you may not have expected to appear at the top of the “The Good’ section of this article. But take a look at their transfers away from the club in a positive light and you can see that Atletico made a good amount of money on both players.

Getting around €20 million for a young ‘keeper who has yet to prove himself in competitions such as the Champions League or World Cup is a good bit of business. Kun’s transfer was also well done. Although Real Madrid would have been forced to part with more money than Manchester City ultimately did, most Atletico fans would have been happy to see Kun join City, rather than our fierce rivals and La Liga opponents.

The arrivals of Gabi, Silvio, Adrián and Miranda are healthy additions to the squad. Gabi, a product of the Cantera, will have had no troubles settling back into the club. Adrian has the potential to become a top striker while Silvio has been described by Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best right backs going around. Miranda will be a more than capable replacement for Tomas Ujfalusi who has joined Galatasaray.

Finally, other good news is that our run in Europe is still alive following a 2-1 win over Stromsgodset in the Europa League qualifying round. The team will be very aware that the lead is only slender though, and will have to rise to the occasion on Thursday night in the return leg to be held in Norway.

The Bad

The main negative to come from the offseason is quite obviously the way in which former fan favourite Kun Aguero left the club. The saga was drawn out, messy and in the end it damaged Aguero’s reputation at the Vicente Calderón. Every party involved could have handled the situation better and anyone who lays the blame entirely on Kun’s shoulders would be wrong to do so. Everyone will be glad to see that he won’t wear a Real shirt next season and that he won’t be threatening to score against us anytime soon unless we meet City in the Europa League.

Losing such a talented goalkeeper in David De Gea prompted the club to go after the highly-rated Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian instead joined Chelsea before making a temporary move to Atletico on a loan deal. While the club got the player in the end, the fact he will return to Chelsea in the future is a negative. Playing Courtois over the likes of Sergio Asenjo and Joel means Atletico’s ‘keepers get less game time which could potentially hinder their development.

Another loss might not have as much of an impact as the departures of Kun and De Gea, but Diego Costa’s knee injury was a heavy blow. The Brazilian forward tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee which rules him out for the next six months, leaving the squad with even fewer options up front.

Turning to our preseason performances, the games we played against Granada and Bestikas in the mini friendly tournament were a cause for slight concern. 1-0 losses to both sides weren’t the best results, and some players appeared lethargic and unfit. The team was able to turn their form around though for the match against Stromsgodset and with another three weeks until the season starts, there is no need for drastic worry.

What to expect

In terms of transfers, Atletico will still be quite active in the next month. Having hardly spent any of the Kun or De Gea money, expect a big name signing or two before the window closes. Wolfsburg’s Diego is one name being heavily linked with a move to Madrid while there are other players such as Antoine Griezmann, Daniel Osvaldo and Giuseppe Rossi also rumoured to be targets.

On the pitch, there is still plenty of time for the new players to assimilate into the squad, and for the squad in general to find form before the season starts. It’s a time of change at Atletico and supporters should be excited about the potential for success if all goes well.

What are your thoughts after a month of pre-season training?

  • starvs

    Apparently Espanyol rejected a second bid for Osvaldo, thank God; I pray that is the end of the Osvaldo saga.

    Just get Griezmann, please.

  • Yon

    How did we miss out on Piatti and Zapata, 2 great signings for Valencia and Villarreal!!!

  • Javi

    My thoughts are that we should sign Giuseppe Rossi the club needs a striker that can guarantee more than 15 goals each season, Rossi is that guy, if we can’t sign Rossi then let’s look outside Europe, more exactly let’s look for Leandro Damiao, he could be the next Nilmar.
    The club also needs a creative midfielder and Diego isn’t the guy we need, we should sign Ivan Rakitic, he has the quality to make us compete for a 3rd place in La Liga, C’mon guys you all know Rakitic’s potential, he’s the man we need in midfield.
    Antoine Griezmann also is one player that would help us improve and quelify for Champions League but, Real Sociedad is asking too much like 30M if they low their price we should really buy Griezmann.

  • urban

    Griezman would be the best, but I also kinda liked the idea of swapping Salvio for falcao plus 20 mln, as reported by as and mundodeportivo. Salvio is great but I cannot see him taking reyes’ place on the right and we still have juanfran who is becoming a nice surprise for me. He’s not only capable on the field but he also seems to be a great professional and personality – good fella to have him in the dressing room.

    And Salvio needs playing time we might not be able to provide him if the likes of Diego and griezmann come in.

  • starvs

    Ugh don’t remind me of Piatti, what a steal he was.

    And Javi, Rakitic was available for like 3 million last January no? Missed opportunity there…

  • Ringo Schut

    Atleti had the chance to get Piatti, but acted stupid, I can’t really blame Valencia for getting him, he is skilled.
    I’d rather see Salvio than Juanfran, I know he’s young, but he’s way more talented and who says he could not be such a professional? He’s young, but in a year or two he could grow a lot.
    Don’t know about Diego, if it means no more chances for Koke (who has already proven to be better than players like Tiago), then I’d rather not see him arrive.
    If it turns out to become the following midfield formation, I’d be a bit glad:
    Tiago – Diego – Koke
    But Garcia and Assunção would have to leave, Gabi, Mario and canteranos like Marcos, are enough skilled(ish) substitutes.

    Up front I hope Salvio wins the battle with Juanfran and Reyes can start on the left.
    Forlan and Adrian can fight for the striker position, so why get a new one? Borja, Collado and Pedro are enough back-ups. Of course Falcao is a big name, but to become a healthy club again, and to “use the cantera”, don’t ignore it.
    With Diego I guess it’s tactically better as well, to use Salvio, because with a striker less (4-3-3), a RW with striker traits seems better to me.

    Silvio/Valera – Godin/Miranda – Dominguez/Perea – Filipe/Lopez
    Tiago/Gabi – Koke/Mario
    Salvio/Juanfran – Reyes/Cedric

    Yes, I added Cedric, even though Salvio, Adrian, Fran, Koke and probably Forlan can play on the left, I think a real LW back-up could come in handy, since Griezmann is too expensive and Reyes is already on that position, I’d get the talented, but (especially for Atleti) cheap, Cedric Mabwati back. He’s also very useful in a modern 4-3-3 formation and he’s very fast!

  • javi

    Hey I’m the original Javi, we have a second Javi. We should clarify names. Why dont you cahnge your name to Javi 2?

    Anyways, the one I want is Mata.
    Rossi is not coming because Villareal is not selling anymore, and Valencia said Mata can go for 23. He fits all our needs, lets get him.

    the original Javi

  • Javi

    Starvs I’m not sure if Rakitic fee was 3M o 1.5M but it was around that, VERY CHEAP for a awesome player.
    Ringo Schut no offense but talk is cheap and I’m not sure Atleti made a bid for Piatti, the thing with Atleti, is that Cerezo and Gil don’t know how to negotiate, they apparently, can pay over 20m for Osvaldo which his very EXPENSIVE for Osvaldo, and we do NEED a forward who can score more thant 15 goals, you saw Forlan in Copa America, he scored only 2 goals, yes those were important, but still not enough, I hope he recovers his form from previous years as he is a world-class player, but, I doubt it. Adrian, are you serious???!, 8 goals aren’t not enought, Yes he can also assist, but we do NEED A FORWARD.
    And the promote cantera players sounds great, but we are not Bilbao, Madrid,Barca or even Sevilla, is not gonna happen as Cerezo and Gil, don’t really care if canteranos made it to 1st team, i’m not very sure if Manzano likes to promote young players, I don’t think so.

    Also Borja, Collado and Pedro are not ENOUGH back-ups, Borja is our most promising player, but he is not ready yet, it will be good for him to train with the likes of Forlan, but he still needs time to be a sub on a regular basis.
    Remember Keko (recently scored a goal with Catania I hope he recovers his form), Pacheco (had a great 2009 pre-season, scored plenty of goals), Alberto Perea, they are still good prospects, but the club didn’t seem to care about them, as I said no offense but our club, doesn’t seem to care about all canteranos.

    original javi (I suppose?), you want mata, but I think we have many wingers, maybe as a Second Striker, but I don’t think he wants to join Atleti, if that’s the case then I want Neymar, apparently we have about 65M, 45M bid for Neymar, 20M for Mata?, by the way, you’re javi and I’m Javi, I’ll think about change it, a’ight?.

  • Javi

    Ok Javi
    But Neymar, come on he is fodder for the serious spenders
    Mata would replace Juanfran and we woukdnt need Griezmann. Mata and Reyes feeding Forlan and Salvio works specially with Koke Mario Tiago and maybe Diego behind

  • Javi92

    Very well, Real Javi, you are right about Juan Mata, he is a great player, world-class if you ask me. He could be a great signing, and yes he can feed Forlan, and yeah we would’nt need Griezmann, but as I said before do you think Valencia would agree to sell Mata to Atleti?, Or would Mata be willing to sign for a team that barely qualify for the Europa League, and not play Champions League with Valencia?, that’s supposedly why Kun left, because Atleti isn’t playing Champions League, but Mata would be a AWESOME signing.

  • DJ_ZA

    ok… enough with the crazy, never-gonna-happen Mata, Rossi, Neymar (what were you smoking Javi2) talk.
    Been watching u20 WC…. plenty of (cheaper) striker talent on display that Atleti should go after. Too late to sign Adrian Luna, but the Portuguese pair, Nelson Oliviera and Caetano looked kinda interesting. I’d sign Oliveira if he were available. Don’t really get to watch Portugese football though – anyone know a bit more about them?

  • Javi92

    DJ_ZA I was just kidding about Neymar,of course not gonna happen. Atletico signed Sebastian Gallegos who played the Sudamericano Sub-20 but didn’t make it to Colombia,from Danubio a long time ago and also we just signed promising Montoeli Sonopo, as it says on this website. By the way it’s Javi92 not Javi2

    [Comment edited by moderator. Please be polite.]

  • 20corona

    lol @ the Javi situation!

  • Javi92

    20corona, dude C’mon this “Javi situation” is not funny, psych!, well it may be a little bit, but hey, I’m just expressing my opinions, and what the hell is wrong with this guy DJ_ZA?, he is impyling that im a pot-head, I was being polite and this guy comes out of nowhere and offends me, his comment should be edit to moderator, Where is the freedom of speech?!, I was being very polite and DJ_ZA was not very polite at all!!!. So moderator edit his comment,(DJ_ZA) as it is offensive and unpolite too!!!,a’ight?!!!.

  • starvs

    Javi92, it was a compliment. He was just jealous of the fact you obviously got some good bud.

  • Javi92

    I got some good what?, Starvs. Please be honest.