It was always going to be a thankless task for Atletico Madrid attempting to compete with city rivals Real Madrid and reigning champions Barcelona. Every year Los Rojiblancos put up a good fight against the giants.
However, next season could be one of the most challenging of all for Diego Simeone and his side, mainly due to half his squad leaving this summer.
A scary amount of likely exits
Atletico have seen a number of players exit the club so far this summer, including Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez and Juanfran. However, veteran full-back Felipe Luis’ contract is also set to expire and he looks set to also head through the exit door at the Wanda Metropolitano.
According to Sky Sports, Atletico could lose star defensive midfielder Rodri this summer. The 22-year-old has told the club he intends to leave. With reports suggesting that both Manchester City and Bayern Munich are prepared to pay his release clause of around 60million euros, Atleti have little chance of keeping the Spanish international.
With star striker Antoine Griezmann also revealing he will leave the club this summer, Atletico are not going to have any players left at this rate. The departing players are big players, who will not be easy to replace.
Which players are arriving at Atletico this summer?
Obviously, many of the players leaving this summer will generate big fees, so Simeone will be able to reinvest some of those funds into signing replacements for the departed.
Atletico have strengthened their defensive options with the signing of Felipe from Porto. Argentinian forward Nicolas Ibanez has also arrived from Mexican club, San Luis. However, the team from the Spanish capital will have to continue to add players to their potentially threadbare squad.
There have been rumours and speculation that Atletico could trigger the £100million release in the contract of Benfica starlet Joao Felix. The 19-year-old is one of the brightest young stars in the European game.
He seems like the perfect Atletico player. He is a young player who they can develop and probably sell on at a big profit in the future. The problem they have is that the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City are also believed to be interested in Felix.
Atletico could not compete with either Manchester club when it comes to wages, so they will have to move quickly to secure the Portuguese youngster.
Another player linked with a move to Atletico is Arsenal central midfielder Granit Xhaka. Any move for the Swiss international would likely to be to replace Rodri. Even at 22, the Spaniard looks a better player. However, with the player wanting to leave, Xhaka may not be a terrible signing.
Outsiders for La Liga next season
Atletico Madrid have finished second in La Liga in the last two seasons. However, Los Rojiblancos have finished way behind eventual champions Barcelona, but ahead of city rivals Real Madrid, who have underperformed in the Spanish top-flight in recent seasons.
Simeone’s team will struggle to challenge for La Liga next season without reinforcements. Atletico Madrid are now odds of 20/1 to finish next season as Spanish champions.
It is hard to say what sort of challenge Simeone’s team will give next season. For their sake, hopefully, the club from the Spanish capital they can rebuild. However, at this moment in time, it looks like Atletico Madrid is a major rebuilding job.
Can Atletico Madrid rebuild sufficiently this summer?
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