Life goes on at Atletico Madrid, despite the high-profile departure of Antoine Griezmann to rivals Barcelona.
The Frenchman, who rejected a move to Camp Nou less than 12 months ago, sealed a switch to the champions in controversial style – however his former boss Diego Simeone has reacted in typically pragmatic fashion.
The departure of Griezmann will hit Atletico, and strengthen a rival, however he is not the only one to head for the exit door at the Wanda Metropolitano. Veterans Diego Godin, Filipe Luis and Juanfran Torres have also moved on.
However, Simeone refused to be knocked out of his stride and has set about rebuilding his side for an immediate title challenge in the 2019-20 season.
Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez were nevertheless the only two defenders at the club at the start of pre-season, a factor that threatened to unbalance the defensive solidity that Simeone’s reign at the club has been built on.
He has made a somewhat left-field choice, by bringing in England international Kieran Trippier from Tottenham, alongside Mario Hermoso from Espanyol and Renan Lodi from Brazilian side Athletico Paranaense.
Rodri’s move to Manchester City has left a hole in midfield, despite Simeone’s ability to retain Spain international pair Koke and Saul Niguez, and Simeone is hopefully of moulding new signing Marcos Llorente into a key man. Llorente moved across the capital from Real Madrid, and he has all the hallmarks of an ideal Simeone-style player – eager to learn and develop under his new boss, with plenty of untapped potential at this stage.
How well Griezmann is replaced is likely to decide how Atletico’s season develops, and there will be plenty of attention on club record signing Joao Felix, and how he dovetails with Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata. Changes are happening at pace at the Wanda, and Simeone will be hopeful of a new dawn for his team.