Diego Simeone’s side are looking for a fresh start after a disappointing 2021-22 season.
Spanish giants Atletico Madrid are preparing for a squad reshuffle this summer, with a lot of their targets dependent on outgoing transfers and the money they can make off the sales. The club has already confirmed three departures from the 2021-22 squad.
Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera has moved to MLS side Houston Dynamo and Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will find new pastures following the expiry of his contract with the capital club. French goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte will return to Monaco after spending the entire 2021/22 season on loan in Spain.
Another player expected to move on is the right-back Sime Vrsaljko. His contract is expiring this summer and he has been reluctant to accept the renewal offer. Looking ahead, the club could look to make additions in all areas of the pitch if finances permit. Here are five players Atletico Madrid should sign this summer.
5. Nahuel Molina (Udinese)
Nahuel Molina is a versatile right-back who plies his trade in the Serie A with Udinese. The 24-year-old Argentina international is adept at playing as a full-back or a wing-back, in either the 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 formation. He scored seven goals and picked up five assists last season. Atletico Madrid has a good working relationship with the Italian side, having purchased Rodrigo de Paul from them a year ago. A fee in the range of €20 million is rumoured to be Udinese’s asking for the Argentinian defender.
4. Carlos Soler (Valencia)
In Carlos Soler, Atletico Madrid have a chance to add much-needed creativity in the middle of the pitch. Soler was Valencia’s top goalscorer last season and has racked up 2.87 shot-creating actions. He has shown versatility in his play, adapting to Pepe Bordalas’ rigid system at Valencia and Luis Enrique’s fluid one with the Spanish national team. With Soler’s contract expiring next summer and the player declining to renew, he could be available for as little as €15 million in this transfer window.
3. Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur)
With Diego Simeone looking to challenge for the La Liga title next season, a creative midfielder is high on the list for the capital side. Giovani Lo Celso is a playmaking midfielder who spent half of last season on loan at Villareal in Spain. The 26-year-old was pivotal to Villarreal having a successful season, playing a key role against the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich in the knockout rounds and helping the Yellow Submarine reach the Champions League semifinal. He made 16 La Liga appearances, often as the second striker with the freedom to roam around.
2. Raul de Tomas (Espanyol)
Atletico Madrid needs to add firepower up front following Luis Suarez’s departure. While the ageing Uruguayan did well in his two seasons with the club, he doesn’t have the legs anymore to meet the demands of playing in multiple competitions in a season. Raul de Tomas is a capable replacement and is La Liga proven. He scored 17 league goals last season for an Espanyol side that finished 14th in the table. He scored 12 non-penalty goals from 10.8 expected goals (XG) and his 0.45 XG per 90 including penalties was better than every Atletico player bar Matheus Cunha. With Espanyol needing to make a high-profile sale in order to stay within LaLiga’s tight salary limits, the 27-year-old is available on the transfer market.
1. Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund)
Atletico Madrid have a long-standing interest in Axel Witsel and have the chance to sign him as a free agent this summer since his contract with Borussia Dortmund has expired. The Belgium international midfielder should be the ideal replacement for the outgoing Héctor Herrera and give the team defensive solidity alongside Geoffrey Kondogbia. The 33-year-old made 41 appearances for Dortmund last term, registering more than nine recoveries per 90 minutes. With 93% passing accuracy in his four seasons in Germany, he gives Diego Simeone the option to move between different styles of play during the season.
Previously, the Belgian spent several seasons at Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, Tianjin Quanjian in China and at Dortmund most recently. He has also made over 120 appearances for his country since making his debut back in 2008.