Atletico Madrid have completed the signing of Luis Suarez from Barcelona for around £5million, meaning many fans around the world are getting a feeling of deja vu.
The manner of the deal, with Barcelona deeming the legendary striker as surplus to requirements, has seen many revisit the summer of 2013 where Atleti completed the signing of another Barcelona outcast – David Villa.
Having missed much of the previous season to injury, Villa struggled for starts with Barcelona and was made available for transfer. Atletico Madrid swooped in and struck a deal worth just €5.1 million to make Spain’s all-time top goalscorer wear the famous red and white stripes.
Partnered up front with Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid were able to beat off competition from both Barcelona and fierce rivals Real Madrid to lift their first La Liga title since 1996. Villa contributed with 13 goals in the league but it was experience and savvy to link with teammates and bring the best out of them, most importantly Costa, that was invaluable to the triumph.
With Suarez now a Rojiblanco and both Barcelona and Real Madrid failing to strengthen this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Simeone will believe this is a big chance for his side to close the gap once again and potentially lift the title.
Simeone has let Alvaro Morata join Juventus on a season-long loan deal with the option of a €45 million deal to make it permanent next summer, paving the way for Suarez to come in as the first-choice striker. With his technique and finishing, his lack of mobility these days will likely be balanced out with a partnership being formed with young Portuguese wizard Joao Felix.
Felix is Atletico’s record signing after a €126 million deal from Benfica last summer, but he struggled to adapt to the style of Simeone’s side. He picked up lots of injuries and found the back of the net only nine times. He was in and out of the side, often partnered with a different person and never really got to make any real partnerships on the pitch.
As Suarez arrives, the pressure on Felix lifts away and the rest of the team now have a reliable and consistent goalscorer leading the line who has all the experience of winning titles and scoring in big games.
With a relatively young squad, if Atletico can keep everyone together during the final period of the transfer window then we could very well see history repeat itself.