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Analysing Atletico Madrid's transfer window

Sports Mole takes a closer look at how La Liga giants Atletico Madrid performed in the 2015 summer transfer window.

The David de Gea saga seemed to dominate a lot of the Spanish transfer window this summer.

Would they? Wouldn't they? Eventually they – Real Madrid – didn't and as a result, many feel that Rafael Benitez's side are short of the top-class goalkeeper needed to enjoy a successful campaign in terms of trophies.

Barcelona were also present on the back pages despite their transfer ban, but in the background, Atletico quickly and confidently got their business done.

Diego Simeone's side finished some 16 points behind last season's La Liga champions Barcelona, having won the title the season before. There is little doubting that they had a disappointing 2014 summer window, but their business this time around has been very impressive.

Whether or not Atletico can challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid throughout the course of the season is another question for another time. However, here, Sports Mole has taken an in-depth look at their business.

In: Jackson Martinez (Porto), Stefan Savic (Fiorentina), Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Monaco), Luciano Vietto (Villarreal), Filipe Luis (Chelsea), Bernard Mensah (Vitoria Guimaraes, loaned to Getafe), Matias Kranevitter (River Plate, loaned back to River), Santos Borre (Cali, loaned back to Cali)

Out: Arda Turan (Barcelona), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Mario Suarez (Fiorentina), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Raul Garcia (Athletic Bilbao), Miranda (Inter Milan), Emiliano Insua (Stuttgart), Cristian Rodriguez (Independiente), Kader (Club Africain)

Strongest Atletico XI: Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Luis; Koke, Tiago, Gabi; Griezmann, Martinez, Carrasco


Defence

When Simeone has a full complement of players, the back four will consist of three players that were at the club last season, and the returning Filipe Luis. Miranda struggled to demonstrate his 2013-14 form last term and although the Brazilian's departure was a sad one, the emerging Jose Gimenez, who is just 20, is more than capable of thriving alongside the exceptional Diego Godin.

Guilherme Siqueira arrived at the Vicente Calderon last summer as a replacement for Luis, but with the latter returning following a difficult spell at Chelsea, Atletico's back four, which will also include Juanfran, looks as mean as it did when they won the Spanish title and reached the Champions League final.

Neither Toby Alderweireld nor Emiliano Insua were at the club last season and therefore their departures will not really be felt and indeed the arrival of Stefan Savic from Fiorentina has boosted their options in central defence. Savic did not have the best of times at Manchester City, but has rebuilt his career in Italy.

Had Gimenez not arrived on the scene as quickly as he did, Simeone might have been forced into the market to sign a new world-class centre-back to play alongside Godin. While Savic does not fall into the top-class category, his quick-footed and agile style should complement the pair already in position. It is not too difficult to pick out their star signing at the back, with Luis's return boosting the entire club.

Filipe Luis of Atletico de Madrid looks on during the Spanish Super Cup second leg match between FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid at Nou Camp on August 28, 2013© Getty Images

Midfield

One look at the departure list would suggest that this was a disappointing area of the summer window for Atletico. The wonderfully-gifted Arda Turan has moved on to Barcelona, while Raul Garcia made the move to Athletic Bilbao in the latter stages of the window. Two players that were key in Atletico's excellent 2013-14 season have departed, but those that have arrived have boosted the squad.

For the purposes of this article, we will include Monaco's Yannick Ferreira Carrasco as a midfielder. The 21-year-old is widely regarded as one of the best young talents in European football and arrives having made over 100 first-team appearances for Monaco. Aside from Antoine Griezmann, Atletico lacked pace last season and his ability on either flank will be priceless.

Thomas Partey has also returned on loan from Almeria and will battle the likes of Gabi, Tiago and Koke for a spot in central midfield. It is no secret that Simeone wanted to sign Thiago Motta from Paris Saint-Germain, but the midfielder ultimately signed a new long-term deal in Paris. Exciting youngster Matias Kranevitter has been purchased, but he will not arrive until December.

Oliver Torres, following a loan spell at Porto, has started Atletico's first two league games of the new season, but there is a void left by Mario Suarez, who although not a constant, provided experience and bite to the middle of the park. Experience in the shape of Cristian Rodriguez has also been lost, but it is an area of the field that appears well-stocked. Keeping hold of Koke was always going to be vital, with the Spaniard one of the most in-demand midfielders in European football.

Arda Turan for Atletico Madrid on December 14, 2014© Getty Images

Attack

This is the area that needed most strengthening this summer, of that there is little doubt. Losing Diego Costa in the summer of 2014 was an incredible blow and to be blunt, Mario Mandzukic did not cut it last season. The Croatian managed a respectable 20 goals in all competitions, but his lack of pace and indeed movement did not suit an Atletico team that relies on work-rate.

Indeed, but for Griezmann's goals – all 25 of them – Atletico would have struggled last season. In the league, they only managed 67 goals, which was 43 fewer than Barcelona and 51 less than Real Madrid, which is quite incredible. Raul Jimenez also struggled and although Fernando Torres returned in January, the Spaniard was never going to be a consistent scorer in the second half of the season.

Cue the summer business and cue the signing of a goal-machine in the shape of Jackson Martinez, who hit 92 goals in 132 games for Porto from 2012 to 2015. The Colombian is already off the mark in the league this season and his pace and power are perfect for Atletico's style of play.

Luciano Vietto has also arrived from Villarreal after hitting 20 goals in 48 games during his first season in Spanish football last term. Just 21, the Argentine's pace and finishing qualities will further complement the attack. Now, Atletico have options and indeed an abundance of quality in the final third; that is without even mentioning Angel Correa, who is back playing after heart surgery.

Atletico are used to having an outstanding striker – Torres, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao, Costa – to name a few. Martinez is not quite in that company, but there is no doubt that the options have been improved in this summer's window. Simeone's side will once again expect to be strong at the back this season, but they simply will not challenge for the title without finding the back of the net on a regular basis.

Colombia's forward Jackson Martinez eyes the ball eyes the ball during a training session at the President Laudo Natel Athlete Formation Center in Cotia, Sao Paulo, on June 21, 2014© Getty Images

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Atletico boss Diego Simeone on the touchline against Rayo on August 25, 2013
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