Atletico Madrid have had a big rebuilding job this summer after Chelsea took away three key members from last season’s La Liga champions.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois returned to Stamford Bridge after his loan spell, whilst Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis also joined him in West London following lengthy negotiations.
Arguably the biggest area to reinforce, however, was the striking options as the Blues purchased Atletico’s prize asset Diego Costa after meeting his £32 million release clause.
The Brazilian-born Spanish international was essential to Diego Simeone’s hardworking style of play, leading the line superbly whilst chipping in with 36 goals over the campaign in all competitions.
Described as a bull due to his strength, Jose Mourinho’s new striker also possesses excellent footwork and intelligence to link up with his teammates – attributes that aren’t easy to find.
Using the money from the sale of Costa, the Madrid-based outfit have brought in the much desired Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich and French international Antoine Griezmann before topping off their summer spending with wildcard Mexican star Raul Jimenez – business which has delighted boss Simeone.
“I believe with the arrival of Raul Jimenez, we thought about the characteristics which the team needed. I evaluated him as a young player with speed who plays in a key area. I consider having Griezmann, Raul Garcia, Mandzukic and Jimenez an important offensive power.” He said, quoted by the Spanish publication AS.
Los Colchoneros kick off their defence of their La Liga crown on 25 August away at fellow Madrid-based side Rayo Vallecano.
Their task in retaining the Spanish title couldn’t be more difficult after rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona both spent more than €100 million each on new players ahead of the new season.