Diego Simeone quietly compiling another title winning side at Atletico Madrid
Most of the attention in Spain this summer has been on Atletico Madrid’s cross-city rivals Real Madrid, which suits Diego Simeone just fine.
Under the cover of Los Blancos hiring new boss Rafael Benitez and all of the drama surrounding Manchester United and former Atleti goalkeeper David de Gea’s potential switch to Real, Simeone has been able to operate without drawing too much attention to himself or the club.
While they have offloaded last summer’s recruit Mario Mandzukic to Juventus for a fee in the region of £14m, they have acquired Luciano Vietto from Villarreal for a similar price. Perhaps fittingly for the club, the talented 21-year-old has been compared to compatriot Sergio Aguero, who rose to prominence at the Ramon Calderon before sealing a switch to Manchester City.
It represents move of considerable significance and is a huge vote of confidence to the manager after Vietto reportedly stated Simeone as one of the reasons why he chose Atletico, 20/1 with Coral to win the Champions League next term, over a number of top European clubs.
There is no doubt that in terms of impact, Vietto is better than Mandzukic, however they are two very different types of strikers. His arrival will allow the team to be more versatile in style and means should the occasion call for it, they can be more direct.
Midfielder Koke, an heir-apparent to Xavi in the Spanish national side is being groomed for a more central move, which enables him to have more control on the game. If Vietto operates ahead of him, it means Koke is ideally positioned to pick out his intelligent runs with defence-splitting passes.
Add to that, supremely gifted attacker Antoine Griezmann who signed last summer, and who is likely to resume duties from the flank and there is already three components in the team who can deliver points almost single-handed.
Simeone is also understood to be in discussions with Porto for prolific centre forward Jackson Martinez; a completely different beast to Vietto, though nonetheless effective. His game is ideal for La Liga and he can cause defences no end of problems.
The club are monitoring the situation of Manchester United attacker Javier Hernandez, who was shipped out on loan to rivals Real last term, and adding him to their attacking options will only strengthen them. Linking the Mexican up with Vietto could well lead to goals galore.
It remains to be seen whether Simeone will make any changes to his rearguard, however, if his current dealings are anything to go by, it could be very promising next season for the club.