Atlético, a ‘candidate’ by quantity… unless avoided by Arabia
Three days before the market closes, Atlético’s roadmap is clear: Joao Félix will leave no matter what, the incorporation of a 5 will be tried until the end even though Verratti and Hojbjerg remain very complicated options and will not be negotiated the departure of any other player (not Riquelme, not Lino, not Carrasco or anyone). In other words, the idea is that the squad remains at 25 players … unless Saudi Arabia unexpectedly breaks in in the next few days or until September 20 and destroys the plan.
The danger that the Arab temptation ends up removing a player from the squad is the most feared among Atlético’s sports officials, since it would significantly reduce the potential of a group that, with 25 players, would have precisely in the number of troops plugged in, one of its greater arguments to counteract the quality of Real Madrid and Barcelona in their intention to fight for the titles.
Having 25 players (and all involved) is not a trivial issue, since in seven of Simeone’s eleven full seasons at the head of the bench, Atlético would start the season with 22. In fact, the exception would be the 20-21 season. , in which the roster would rise to 23, since the trend would be to make short squads, as would be evident with the 21 personnel from the 14-15 and 17–18 campaigns or the 20 from 18-19.
Wardrobe background to compete with the greats
Assuming that the economic potential of Real Madrid and Barcelona will always place them as the great favorites to win the titles, Atlético will focus its options of becoming a candidate in the closet. Although the squad would have room for improvement with the arrival of a 5, a natural replacement for Nahuel Molina or a 9 that would ensure the 25 goals of the Falcao, Diego Costa or Luis Suárez of the past, the truth is that the performance of the Footballers who come off the bench or who allow the eleven to vary without lowering the level once the accumulation of matches begins aims to be decisive in the future of the rojiblancos.
In this sense, the breadth of variants that Simeone has, covering the holes that were in the defense last year and with the entire squad willing to contribute their grain of sand (in the last win against Rayo, all the forwards and four of the seven goals were scored by substitutes), the role of the 16 players who participate in each match becomes more important than ever.
A group, in short, to get excited about… once the market in Arabia closes, since determined in the offices of the Metropolitan not to open the doors to any player other than Joao Félix, only a dizzying Saudi offer can minimize the strength of the template.