Atlético’s squad has been on vacation since Monday, but work at the Wanda Metropolitano offices is frenetic. Meetings, plans, renewals. The future is cooking these days. The 2022-23. The club’s plans revolve around several pillars. The first, to ensure the continuity of the spine.
There are several footballers who determine the future of others. That backbone formed by the coach, Simeone, with a contract until 2024 and with guaranteed continuity, especially after having achieved the original objective set by the entity: to qualify for the next Champions League. The second, the goalkeeper, whose contract ends in 2023 and is meridian: Oblak is a goalkeeper who scores goals with his stops. The third is João Félix, the most expensive signing in the club’s history, 120 million in 2019, wanted by several European greats but who left quietly on Friday before LaLiga ended on vacation. It is not for sale, no matter how much others love it. The fourth, Griezmann. He closed the first year of his two loan spells with Atlético with the worst numbers of his career (8 goals, three only in the League). The obligatory purchase of him, for 40 million, is not this summer but the following one. Follow. If the technician does it too. He is his confidant. His fetish soccer player in the squad. Regaining their best level will be a goal from the first day of July when the rojiblancos return to work.
Atlético itself revealed its plans in the farewells of Herrera and Suárez. That it was known that the last two were not going to continue? Half. The Mexican thing, yes, was announced by the club where he will play, the Houston Dynamo, in April. The Uruguayan thing. He himself, as he recognized in the SER, knew it the day before the farewell acts that were held at the Metropolitano after Atlético-Sevilla on the penultimate day. That he sensed it clearly, but nobody had communicated it to him. Two more players, Vrsaljko and Felipe, end their contract this June. The renewal of the second is missing, almost, the official announcement. The first very advanced. The intention of the rojiblanco club is to keep one of the two right backs that Cholo currently has. Wass has not convinced or filled Cholo’s eye. It is the call to leave. Vrsaljko, the call to renew, has it very advanced. Both contract extensions could be made official in the coming days. They won’t be the only ones. Lemar may be next.
Andrea Berta has already declared that there would be “no big signings”. The principle of “let them out before they enter” is the one that has ruled for years in the red and white offices during the transfer market. A right back (for which names such as Clauss, from Lens, already intended in winter, and Molina, from Udinese) are being considered. It is one of the positions to be reinforced. Wanted a Trippier. A long side that joins the line of five with offensive contribution. A defensive midfielder. A central and a ‘9’ are the other positions to reinforce.
The most complicated matter. With the qualification for the Champions League and tripling the income from the sponsor of the shirt, Atlético will no longer have to undertake a large sale to ensure its viability, something that would have forced them not to finish LaLiga in the top four. You just have to make a minor sale. Soccer players like Lodi were on the market in January and will be now, there are others, like Correa, who are a shield but have expressed their doubts to those around them that cause him not to have a regular starting role despite the numbers (top scorer, tied with Suárez at 13) and performance (hero of last LaLiga), the feeling that what he has such a hard time achieving, for it is very easy losing it, for others it is not difficult. The summer is long, nothing may happen or the Argentine may feel that the time has come to make the leap, to try other things. Hermoso is on the market and other centre-backs like Giménez have a lot of market.
There are several footballers who return to the rojiblanca discipline without any of them, except for Manu Sánchez in Osasuna and Camello and Riquelme in Mirandés, having triumphed. Juve will not pay the 35 million mandatory purchase for Morata and will return it, a capital return because it is one of those conditions. His relationship with Cholo, moreover, is not the best. Morata wants to play in the World Cup, he needs to play and that will prevail in his decision. Saúl did not succeed at Chelsea, Arias neither at Granada, Vitolo less in Getafe and even less Gbric in Lille. They will all be at the Cerro on the 7th to start the 2022-23 season, without the continuity of many being truly assured at Atlético.