3 replacements for Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid
Background image: Jose Carlos Ortiz Aparicio
Antoine Griezmann finally did it. He allowed his hunger for silverware to cloud his loyalty to Atletico Madrid. The Netflix documentary feels silly now, doesn’t it? Rojiblancos faithful channelled their emotions following the new 'Decision'. Massive boos rained down from the Metropolitano stands in the Frenchman's final home game.
Atleti heroes come and go. Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao all used Los Indios as a stepping stone for bigger moves. The club has a knack for creating superstars on the go but an intimidating summer lies ahead for Diego Simeone [or his replacement]. More than one key player is departing.
Griezmann’s replacement must be equally spectacular. Ignoring his childish behaviour, the World Cup winner’s a profound inspiration up front. Los Rojiblancos needs someone with similarly lethal instincts. Here are three potential replacements.
Simeone needs youth in his team. Who better than quite possibly the most talented 18-year-old around? Joao Felix has seized Europe’s attention with his scintillating work at Benfica. Many are already touting him as the next Cristiano Ronaldo. The similarities are uncanny. Another skinny teenager with braces looking to climb European football’s pinnacle.
If Atleti wish to break the despotic rule in Spain, getting Felix onboard is key. Like Ronaldo, he pursues a relentless, growing hunger. Felix’s impressive pace complimented with his nose for goals creates a terrorizing combination. He passes defenders with ease and can operate anywhere in attack.
With 15 league goals at such a young age, he’s the beautiful game’s next big thing. Granted, he’s very expensive. Manchester United are also keen. It will be necessary to turn over the Griezmann proceeds to Benfica and maybe then some but it will be worth it.
Mr Bad Boy can fill the arrogant quota vacated by Griezmann’s departure. More importantly, he’s a devastating striker. Granted, Los Colchoneros are stacked up front with Alvaro Morata and Diego Costa but Icardi can outproduce both. Even during a controversial period in which he was benched for several games, the Argentine netted eleven times in Serie A.
Inter's locker room turned on him. Diego Simeone should pounce. Icardi’s of the same mould as former greats like Torres and Aguero with an unhealthy dose of Diego Costa's attitude. If the boss handled that keg of dynamite twice, he can cope with Icardi.
Icardi’s fantastic finishing ability, eye for goal and link-up play can improve Atletico as a whole. He won't make too many friends but will provide a continuous supply of goals to ensure long-term success.
When Paulo Dybala was handed the prestigious #10 jersey at Juventus, he became the man to usher in a brighter future. Then Cristiano Ronaldo arrived to prove the future is never written in stone. There’s no animosity between him and the Portuguese, yet everything’s changed since his arrival. Juventus’ players opt to pass the ball to him rather than Dybala.
Juve no longer plays to his strengths, sabotaging his development. This mild-mannered Argentine also craves a change. In the Spanish capital, he'll get his chance to compete against his other career roadblock, Lionel Messi, directly. He relishes dribbling in short spaces, whirling around in possession to create majestic chances. He has the vision to be a proper No.10 for any club.
Moreover, he’s an excellent finisher with the tendency for something extraordinary. Dybala will thrive in a system built around him. He can create magic in the Rojiblancos’ attack and reassert himself among the world’s best.