Atletico Madrid are one of few clubs across Europe that are bracing themselves for a busy transfer window ahead.
The club were shockingly knocked out of European competitions in the first half of the season and are now in desperate need of a major rejig in their attempts to seek a fresh start.
This could lead to the exit of a host of star players across the team, including the likes of Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo De Paul, both of who seem destined to depart Civitas Metropolitano after the turn of the year.
However, according to AS, Atletico Madrid are not looking to offload every star player in the team and there are certain individuals who have been labelled as unattainable for other clubs.
The list includes long-time midfielder and club captain Koke, along with goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Their experience makes them invaluable to the team’s long and short-term growth. The same can be said for Antoine Griezmann, who had recently made his move to Atleti from Barcelona permanent.
Although the Frenchman was only a shadow of the player he once was, the former Real Sociedad starlet is still considered a vital asset to the club’s attacking unit.
Other players on this list include Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente, along with defensive players Reinildo Mandava, Jose Maria Gimenez and Stefan Savic.
Morata has proven to be quite effective with his goalscoring prowess whereas Llorente’s versatility has been handy for Simeone in the past. Reinildo, too, has proven to be a bargain after joining the club from France.
Savic, meanwhile, is seen as the leader of the central defensive unit at Atletico Madrid. Although the Montenegrin international has struggled with injuries, his aggression and experience make him an ideal leader of the Atleti defence in the years to come.
As for players like Lemar, De Paul, Mario Hermoso and Matheus Cunha, among others, the club would allow them to leave if interesting offers arrive. The same applies for Joao Felix as well, who scored for Portugal in their win over Ghana at the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Thursday.
All in all, there could be major tweaks made to the squad at Atletico Madrid over the next couple of transfer windows.
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.