Summer Transfer Business

It is almost a curse detailing Atlético Madrid’s transfer business because the saga of the summer surrounding Thomas Partey threatens to change at any moment. The Ghanaian is linked with a move to Arsenal, but the London-based club are waiting to raise funds to activate his release clause. This has left Atleti in limbo about whether to sign a replacement, but they look set to sign Espanyol’s Marc Roca.

The window has been very quiet. Alvaro Morata’s move from Chelsea was made permanent through obligation. The only further purchase made so far is the signing of 24-year-old Croatian keeper Ivo Grbic from NK Lokomotiva. Left-back Caio Henrique has departed for Monaco, Antonio Adan left for Sporting and several young players have departed on loan. Eyes will be on Partey all the way up until October.

Manager

Diego Simeone, the ever-present fixture in the Spanish league, remains the talismanic figure of the club. The questions around Los Rojiblancos’ coach will continue to be whether he can get the best from his young talents. Joao Felix failed to hit the ground running in La Liga and again a portion of blame fell at El Cholo. The attempt to make Atleti a more technical side has been a struggle but there have been successes with the transition of Marcos Llorente to a more advanced role.

Players to watch

For me this could be Saul Niguez’s last season at the Metropolitano. With consistent rumours with a move away from Madrid and Spain surfacing each summer it only appears a matter of time. It will be of great intrigue to see how the Spaniard performs this season. Central midfielders are one of the most coveted of players to Europe’s elite of late and Saul certainly falls into the top bracket.

Renan Lodi is an exciting young left-back who showed real character last season. Since the loss of Filipe Luis, the position has left the club with little options and Lodi has presented as a real long-term option for Simeone’s side.

One for the future

There is no doubt that the young player to watch in the Atlético side is Joao Felix. It is often tempting with these selections to choose the ‘left-field’ pick but Felix is too enigmatic not to choose. His first season left more questions than answers and after a year of transition to see whether the Portuguese forward can be Atleti’s cornerstone goal scorer for the foreseeable future is yet to be determined.

Predicted Finish – 2nd

It seems that Real Madrid are the favourites for the league but with the chaos occurring in Catalonia, there is a chance for Atleti to steal second from Barcelona. However, with Sevilla looking to mount a serious siege on the established three, Atlético must continue their end of season form.

Before the lockdown, Atlético were struggling for form. Points were being dropped needlessly in games they were expected to win. However, the end of the season was stellar. 11 games, zero losses and seven wins secured Champions League football. If this form is continued second place seems highly likely.

Tom Canton