Can new-look Atleti challenge Spain’s top order

Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is adamant that Diego Simeone will not be leaving the club despite links to Inter Milan.

It has been a summer of upheaval at Atletico Madrid but has Diego Simeone managed to create a squad capable of claiming the La Liga title?

There have been some huge departures for Los Colchoneros this summer. Antoine Griezmann, the club’s attacking talisman for years, has left for Barcelona and in defence Diego Godin moved on to Inter Milan.

Those exits alone would have been enough in most summer windows to lead to questions over Atleti’s ability to compete with Barca and Real Madrid but the likes of Felipe Luis, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez and Juanfran have also moved on to pastures new.

The Madrid club have been bold in the transfer market themselves however, despite making a net profit of €46.5million on their summer spending so far.

The biggest arrival and most eye-catching is teenage sensation Joao Felix in a €126m deal from Benfica. Touted as the ‘new Ronaldo’ by the press in his native Portugal, Atletico beat off competition from across Europe to snare Felix and if he can settle in quickly he could well be Atleti’s new superstar in the years ahead.

Fellow new recruits Sime Vrsaljko, Felipe and Kieran Trippier bring bags of experience and should be able to fill the voids left by some of the bigger summer departures, while 24-year-old centre-half Mario Hermoso, a product of the Real Madrid academy, looks a shrewd acquisition from Espanyol.

It may take a bit of time for this new-look Los Rojiblancos line-up to gel and that is a concern regarding their title aspirations. Last season Barcelona won the La Liga title by winning 26 of their 38 games, managing 87 points in total, and Atletico will have to hit the ground running if they want to end the Catalan giants dominance of Spain’s top flight.

This year may not be Atleti’s time to pick up a first La Liga title since 2014 but they appear locked in for a top-three finish at the very least despite the big chances in personnel over the summer, and in the not too distant future they could well be the champions of Spain yet again.