Atletico Madrid are wasting little time in preparing for the 2019-20 La Liga season, with Diego Simeone already active in the transfer market.
The Argentinian boss reaffirmed his commitment to the club at the end of the season, despite the departures of key players and the reported lack of financial backing from the board.
However, the former Inter Milan midfielder has responded with his usual mix of pragmatism and tactical nous to quickly address the areas in his side that need strengthening.
Simeone has already lost Juanfran and Diego Godin, both key figures in Los Rojiblancos’ success under Simeone, with left backs Lucas Hernandez joining Bayern Munich and Filipe Luis also set to move on.
However, as the attention continues to be focused on the Antonie Griezmann-FC Barcelona soap opera, Simeone has already actively looked to replace the Frenchman and his former team mates.
A deal for Real Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente has already been agreed between the two city rivals, as Zinedine Zidane continues his clear out at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Llorente looks to be tailor made for a Simeone side, filled with tenacity and intelligence, but crucially with a point to prove given his lack of game time since Zidane’s return to Spain in March 2019.
Whilst Atletico have not lost any midfielders in the close season, Simeone is aware of Manchester City’s interest in Rodri, and Arsenal’s in Thomas Partey.
Neither player is likely to leave, but an extra body in that area frees up Rodri and Saul Niguez to play in more advanced roles.
He also looks set to use the €120m he receives from the Griezmann sale to secure the transfer of Benfica teenager Joao Felix, as they have edged ahead of their rivals in the race to sign him.
Felipe Monteiro has already come in as Jose Giminez’s new partner at centre back, with Porto team mates Hector Herrera and Alex Telles set to follow, with the former on a free transfer and the latter as a replacement for Hernandez and Luis.
Striker Nicolas Ibanez has also arrived from Mexican side San Luis, with the Argentinian international forward widely tipped to be another Simeone wild card find.
That is likely to be the sum total of Simeone’s transfer manoeuvrings, as he typically likes to have his full squad together for the start of pre-season training.
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