By 90Min
May 29, 2019

This summer promises to be a time of change at Atletico Madrid. 

Club stalwarts Diego Godin and Juanfran have already confirmed their exits, while Lucas Hernandez has been bought by Bayern Munich for €80m. Star man Antoine Griezmann has also announced his intention to leave for pastures new and speculation continues to surround a number of Atletico's other key players.

Safe to say, Diego Simeone has his work cut out for him.

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On the plus side, the Argentine looks like he will have significant funds to work with. With that in mind, we're going to play manager and imagine how Atletico could line up next season after a summer of ins and outs.


Quick disclaimer - this is complete fantasy and it's unlikely Atletico will definitely look like this next season. However, we're going to try to build a system and side that works, based on the rumours floating around concerning Atletico's transfer business.


Let's get to it.


Jan Oblak

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The outstanding Slovenian is one of several Atletico players linked with a move away every few weeks, with Manchester United supposedly keen if David de Gea leaves.

However, Oblak recently signed a new contract and he'll be at Wanda Metropolitano next season unless someone meets his €120m release clause.


Nelson Semedo

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This one seems unlikely at first glance, but Simeone has reportedly picked out Semedo as Juanfran's replacement and it makes sense the more you think about it.

Barcelona won't want to strengthen their title rivals, but the Catalans are desperate to raise funds to finance a summer overhaul.

Semedo has also failed to displace midfielder-turned-right back Sergi Roberto since joining from Benfica, so a decent bid would surely get Barça's attention.


Jose Gimenez

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Atletico legend Diego Godin has played his last game for the club, but Diego Simeone already has his natural heir among his ranks.


Gimenez's ability has never been in doubt, but his fitness issues have always held him back. Now 24 and Atletico's number one centre back, it's time for him to take up Godin's mantle and become the world class defender everyone knows he can be.


Felipe

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Atletico moved quickly to bring in reinforcements following Godin's departure by signing Brazilian centre back Felipe from Porto for €20m.


Felipe has impressed during his three seasons in Portugal since joining from Corinthians, making 142 appearances for the club. At 30 years old, he will provide much needed experience alongside the younger Gimenez.


Alex Telles

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With Lucas Hernandez off to Bayern and Filipe Luis' future uncertain, Simeone needs a new left back. Atletico have been strongly linked with Telles in recent months, though are yet to agree a deal with Porto.

Telles is far from the archetypal Simeone full back in that he's far better going forward than he is at defending, but he's developed into a top player at Porto and would add another dimension to Atletico's attacking play.


Koke

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The academy graduate has been handed the captain's armband and will be more important than ever with Godin and Juanfran gone.

Koke personifies Diego Simeone's Atletico and will remain a key man for as long as the Argentine sticks around.


Marcos Llorente

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Atletico won't want to lose Rodri after just one season, but with Manchester City and Bayern Munich both keen on the midfielder, Los Rojiblancos may not have much say in the matter if the €70m release clause is met.

If Rodri does leave, Simeone has apparently identified Real Madrid's Marcos Llorente as a potential replacement. Llorente enjoyed a positive start to the season before injury and Zinedine Zidane's return saw him lose his place in the team.

While a move to Real's city rivals may come as a surprise, Zidane needs to raise funds to secure his desired transfer targets and would apparently do business for €50m.


Saul Niguez

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The rumours never seem to go away, which is understandable considering Saul has developed into one of the world's top central midfielders under Simeone.

However, the Spain international signed an eight-year contract last summer, has a €150m release clause and isn't going anywhere unless a club stumps up the cash. Even then, it would take some convincing to make the Atletico academy graduate leave.


Thomas Lemar

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Endured a frustrating first season after his record €60m transfer, but his pace and skill offer something that is otherwise severely lacking in the Atletico midfield and Lemar will be given time.

Respected wingers have tried and failed under Simeone - Vitolo, Gelson Martins and Nicolas Gaitan to name just a few. Atletico will hope Lemar is the one to buck the trend. 


Joao Felix

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It turns out Antoine Griezmann isn't so loyal after all, so Simeone has the unenviable task of replacing one of the world's best players.

Step forward Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix, whose 20 goals and 11 assists this season have caught the eyes of Europe's top clubs. Like Griezmann, Felix operates as a second striker, halfway between a nine and a ten, so he's one of the few top players who can naturally fill that role in Simeone's side.

He won't come cheap - Benfica reportedly want his €120m release clause paid in full. However, Felix would be somewhat of a coup for Atletico and the club should do all they can to get the deal done.


Edinson Cavani

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/GettyImages

Diego Costa has struggled since rejoining Atletico and went full Diego Costa towards the end of the season when he picked up an eight-match ban for insulting a referee. 

Club chiefs are now supposedly keen to move Costa on, with Cavani a rumoured replacement. The Uruguayan endured an injury hit campaign, but still scored 18 goals in just 21 Ligue 1 appearances and his all-action style certainly fits Simeone's system.

Sorry, Alvaro.

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