Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are raring to go ahead of the new season. The men in red-and-white were imperious in the pre-season, winning all four games, including a thumping 4-0 victory over Juventus.
However, the great results leading up to the league did not hide the fact that the club were struggling on the economic front.
While they had almost the entire squad registered with La Liga, questions were asked about the two registrations that Atletico had not yet completed, that of Antoine Griezmann and Felipe.
The club offices burned the midnight oil to complete the pending procedure. Now, both Griezmann and Felipe have been registered as Atletico Madrid players for the upcoming season, as revealed on the official La Liga website.
The Frenchman’s registration was only a question of accommodating his wages within the league limits. However, Felipe’s case was more concerning.
The Brazilian’s contract included an automatic renewal clause in case he participated in a certain number of games. Though the 33-year-old met the requirements, the club did not officially announce that his contract had been extended.
Nevertheless, Felipe’s registration itself serves as an announcement of his extension. The centre-back will continue to wear the number 18 in the coming season.
Last year, Felipe made 26 appearances for the club in La Liga, averaging over eight defensive actions per game. However, he only oversaw one clean sheet in that duration.
Meanwhile, Griezmann is in his second year on loan at the club and will be looking to make a big impact. Last season, he was only involved in eight league goals for Los Rojiblancos, a figure that is underwhelming given his astronomical standards.
Atletico Madrid will try to sign Arsenal, Liverpool target for free in the summer
Atletico Madrid saw a lot of movement during the January transfer window as they saw several players leave, while also bringing in a couple of new faces in.
But one player who they tried to sign and could not is Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram.
Indeed, according to AS, was on the top of director Andrea Berta’s list for the winter window as he is in the final six months of his contract. But, Gladbach asked for a fee of around €10-12 million to offload him, which prompted Atletico Madrid to move for Depay instead.
But the report states that Thuram continues to be on the agenda at the Civitas Metropolitano and Berta will try to sign him again in the summer transfer window.
However, there will be intense competition for the 25-year-old’s services given that he will be available for a free transfer at the end of the season.
Juventus and Inter Milan have shown an interest in Thuram, but there are a lot of clubs in England wishing to sign him up.
Indeed, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are all said to be gunning for the French forward’s signing while more clubs could join the list of his suitors as days progress.
So, it will be important for Atletico Madrid to achieve a top-four finish in La Liga and qualify for the UEFA Champions League for next season if they wish to attract a player of Thuram’s capability and calibre.
The 25-year-old has netted 13 goals and set up four more in 19 matches across all competitions. His ability to play anywhere across the frontline makes him an attractive prospect for interested parties such as Atletico.
But given the intense competition, Diego Simeone & co. will need to act swiftly if they wish to sign Thuram.