- Summer of re-building for long-serving coach Simeone
- Griezmann set for switch to title favorites Barcelona
- Portuguese starlet Felix is major signing
Atletico Madrid look set to lose their star player Antoine Griezmann but their plans for challenging Spain’s big two clubs of Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga are well advanced.
Manager Diego Simeone has moved quickly and has already signed seven new players including the $185 million Portuguese forward Joao Felix as he seeks to improve upon last season’s second place finish.
The oddsmakers are impressed. Atletico have shifted inwards in the projections for next season. They are now rated at average La Liga odds of +1700 after being rated at +2000 in May. With Bovada, it’s +1600 to win.
La Liga 2019-20 Odds
|Team||Odds at Bovada|
*Odds taken at 2019/07/12. For a full list of teams click the link in the table.
However, Simeone has admitted he faces one of his toughest tasks since he took charge in 2011 in re-building the team for a fresh challenge at the top.
So the inward trend of the odds appears generous in the face of Barcelona’s continuing might and Real Madrid’s major re-vamp. It may be a campaign of consolidation for Simeone.
Real Madrid Spending Spree
Barcelona are favorites to retain the prize at -155 with Bovada. Real Madrid are second favorites at +130 after their major over-haul but should be highly-fancied. Atletico Madrid are rated third.
Atletico have already lost influential defensive midfielder Rodri who has joined EPL champions Manchester City for $103 million. They have also lost centre-back Lucas Hernandez who has moved to Bayern Munich for the same fee.
Joao Felix (New Atletico Madrid player):
“Cristiano Ronaldo told me he liked the city of Madrid a lot. Cristiano is Cristiano. He is great, best in world right now and perhaps the best ever." pic.twitter.com/WV0AK3z8ZR
— TeamCRonaldo (@TeamCRonaldo) July 8, 2019
The departure of long-serving Uruguayan centre-back Diego Godin for Inter Milan has been another symbol of major change at Atletico this summer.
The Spanish capital’s second club last broke apart the Barcelona-Real Madrid monopoly of the championship when they won the title in 2013-14.
Atletico were runners-up last season – 11 points behind winners Barcelona but 10 points clear of third-placed Real Madrid.
The Spanish capital’s second club last broke apart the Barcelona-Real Madrid monopoly of the championship when they won the title in 2013-14. They have also reached two Champions League finals in the past six seasons.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 11, 2019
The previous occasion when the elite club duopoly was busted was when Valencia lifted the title in 2003-04.
Loss of French Superstar
The future of Griezmann has been one of the transfer sagas of the early summer with Barcelona ready to complete a $197 million deal for the French international.
This will clearly enhance Barca’s chances of retaining the prize and thwarting Atletico again. Brazilian superstar Neymar could also be returning to the Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain.
Real Madrid have been undergoing a drastic re-vamp after their disappointing season in 2018-19 – with Eden Hazard’s $147 million arrival from Chelsea the stand-out buy among five major new signings made by coach Zinedine Zidane.
This, too, could make things tougher for Atletico next season.
— Tottenham Hotspur FC (@_THFC_) July 11, 2019
But the stature of Atletico has grown in recent seasons thanks to their presence in the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016 and the opening of their fabulous new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
They have shown their muscle in the transfer market by paying such a vast sum for the 19-year-old Felix, who has arrived from Benfica. He can play as an attacking midfielder or a striker.
The fee is the second-highest ever paid for a teenager.
Ivan Saponjic has joined Atletico Madrid. The 21 year old striker is the first Serb to play for the club since Mateja Kezman 14 years ago.
A lot of people are making jokes but best of luck to Ivan and hopefully hes able to prove us wrong. pic.twitter.com/3Z8WHAf4RE
— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) July 9, 2019
Along with Felix, Atletico have signed the defensive midfielder Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid for $44 million and the centre-back Felipe from FC Porto for $30 million.
Left-back Renan Lodi has also arrived from Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense for $30 million.
Striker Nicolas Hernandez has been recalled from loan at San Luis of Mexico. Midfielder Hector Herrera has been signed from FC Porto.
The most recent purchase was that of Serbian striker Ivan Saponjic who has also come from Benfica for $1.6 million.
As well as Hazard, Real have signed Brazilian defender Eder Militao from Porto for $82 million and French full-back Ferland Mendy from Lyon for $78 millio
At Real, Zidane has been determined to prove that last season’s disappointments were temprorary.
The 2nd striker role in Simeone’s 4-4-2 is tailor-made for Félix’s skillset.He isn’t a pure playmaker nor a pure striker
The solid defensive structure behind him will give him freedom to express himself.Simeone’s demands will also develop his off-ball work & pressing
Smart move pic.twitter.com/6AlqZ2YwNm
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) July 3, 2019
As well as Hazard, the club have signed Brazilian defender Eder Militao from Porto for $82 million and French full-back Ferland Mendy from Lyon for $78 million.
Serbian striker Luka Jovic has arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt for $98 million. Midfielder Rodrygo has been captured from Santos for $74 million.
Across the city, Real’s spending has spelled out the size of the task facing Atletico as they once again seek to break apart Spain’s dual aristocracy.
Pick: Real Madrid +130
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