By 90Min
September 07, 2019

Having finished a distant second place to Barcelona last season in La Liga, Atletico Madrid had to re-think their strategy this season to close the gap to the Catalan giants.

They decided to spend big, bringing in eight players to the first team as they aim to claim their first league title since 2014.

Here is a look at their summer signings, and how well they have done so far.


Defenders

Mario Hermoso - The centre back joined from Espanyol over the summer after enjoying a fine season in 2018/19 which saw him break into the Spanish national side last November.

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The 24-year-old who came through the youth system at Real Madrid has had a quiet start to life under Diego Simeone. He started the first game on the bench, and was removed for tactical reasons before the hour mark when he made his first start the following week.

The final game before the international break saw him complete his first competitive match for the club, but Atletico looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back, conceding twice before rescuing a 3-2 victory against Eibar. He still has plenty to do to prove that he is ready to fill the gap that Diego Godin left behind. 5/10


Kieran Trippier - Arguably the biggest surprise. In a good way.

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There were a number of eyebrows raised when Trippier made the move to Spain following a disappointing 2018/19 season with Tottenham. The full back, who had shone at the 2018 World Cup, was a shadow of his former self, regularly being caught out of position.

However, he has started very well in the Spanish capital, establishing himself as the first choice right back and producing a number of consistent displays. His upturn in form has earned him an England recall, and he seems to have got his career back on track after a difficult year. 8/10


Renan Lodi - It is never easy to know how a player is going to do when they arrive from Brazil to play for a European side. Inconsistency can be an issue. In the early stages of his time at Atletico, that seems to be the case for Renan Lodi.

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Despite only being 21, Simeone clearly has plenty of faith in him, starting him throughout pre-season. Yet Lodi had a debut to forget when he was sent off on the opening day against Getafe.

Still, he responded well following his suspension, as he grabbed an assist and earned the man-of-the-match award. Early days, and the talent is certainly there. Now he needs to settle down and prove that he can produce the goods more often than not. 6/10


Felipe - Having cost the club £18m, Atletico probably expected more from Felipe. The experienced defender has only played two minutes in the first three games of the season, and failed to even make the squad on the opening day.

Looks to be some way down the pecking order at the moment, comfortably behind the likes of Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Hermoso. Just a back-up option, and a relatively expensive one at that. Underwhelming so far. 4/10


Midfielders

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Marcos Llorente - Signed from city rivals Real Madrid, and much was expected of him, especially with Rodri departing for Manchester City.

Llorente has struggled to establish himself early on though. He failed to start either of the first two league games, and when he did finally play from the beginning in the third game he was clearly off the pace. He delivered a nervy performance, and was replaced at the break. 

He will get plenty more chances as the season progresses, but for now it has been an unspectacular start. 5/10


Hector Herrera - One of the biggest disappointments of the latest crop of signings. Herrera arrived having had six successful years at Porto, whilst he also has 70 caps for Mexico to his name.

Yet he has not started a game for Atletico so far, nor has he played a single minute in La Liga during the first three matches. Admittedly he faces a tough task to break into a midfield that contains Koke and Saul Niguez, but he still would have expected to have a far greater impact when he joined the side. 3/10


Attackers

Ivan Saponjic - Having only turned 22 last month, it is no surprise that Saponjic is still finding his feet at Atletico.

The Serbian forward was clearly signed with the future in mind, and was not expected to feature regularly this season. He made the first two squads of the season due to Diego Costa being injured and Angel Correa serving a suspension, but dropped out for the third game of the campaign. 5/10


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Joao Felix - Saving the best until last. It has been a rapid rise to stardom for the Portuguese attacker, who only established himself as a regular for Benfica in the second half of last season.

That was enough to convince Atletico to pay in excess of £100m for him this summer though, and already that looks like a bargain.

The teenager was exceptional during pre-season, and it appears that the world is his oyster if he continues to progress at his current pace. Expect him to become one of Europe's best in the years to come. He isn't too far away from that level already. 9/10


Overall

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It is fair to say that it was a fairly mixed summer of transfer activity for Atletico. Having lost experienced defenders in Diego Godin and Filipe Luis it was always going to take time for the defence to gel as a unit. Trippier has been the clear standout performer in this area.

The midfield still has work to do, with many expecting Llorente to find his feet in the coming weeks and prove his worth, whilst the attack looks promising if Diego Costa can remain fit and flourish alongside the excellent Joao Felix. 

Three successive wins for the team at the start of the season show that Atletico are on the right track. If all of their signings can start to perform, this could well be their year to really challenge Barcelona.

Overall Rating - 7/10

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