It is undeniable that since the arrival of Diego (‘El Cholo’) Simeone at Atletico de Madrid, the ‘colchonero’ team has become, in view of the results, a giant in Spain and Europe. The titles, Liga, Copa del Rey and Europa League, plus two Champions League finals, endorse a project that year after year has been able to reinvent itself in order to stay with the elite. However, something has changed this summer: its main star, Antoine Griezmann, has decided to bet definitively for the club of the Gil Marín family, something that had not happened in previous seasons.
The sale of Diego Costa, Mandzukic, Courtois, Falcao, De Gea, Aguero or Fernando Torres once indicated that the club was not prestigious enough to retain world-class figures. Constantly forced to revaluate itself with the help of Simeone, Atlético was able to compete at the highest standards despite its economic and sporting deficiencies, both in the Liga and in Europe.
This preseason, however, stability is the norm, something the board has taken advantage of, consolidating the block, which in recent years has at times looked scary in the Champions. The permanence of Antoine Griezmann is the best news, but so was the return of Diego Costa, or the continuity of Jan Oblak in goal and José Giménez in the central defence. With the reference men tied and committed (Godín, Koke, Filipe Luis and Saúl play at least their fourth season at the club), it was time to give a new impetus to the squad.
The additions of Lemar, Gelson Martins and Rodrigo, waiting for Santiago Arias to sign if Vrsajko signed for Inter Milan, together with Vitolo in the winter market, gives an extensive squad, young and full of competitiveness, which should allow the club to continue the same path travelled so far.
The budget difference with respect to Barcelona or Real Madrid continues to be a reality, but with Simeone in the dugout that burden has been surprisingly minimized year after year. With a month to go before the end of the transfer market, the project of the Argentine, runner-up in the Liga and Europa League champion last season, seems to have been reinforced and underpinned in order to continue matching up to the greatest in all competitions.