Between the repetitive PCR tests, the training and the positive of Diego Simeone, the Atletico of Madrid he returned to work on Tuesday with Diego Costa and Santiago Arias already available, once the coronavirus and quarantine have been overcome, and they have returned to the preseason, and to the team with its more uncertain future, because the club is looking for a way out before October 5.
The preseason continues its course without its technician, isolated and in quarantine by Covid-19, but already with all the troops, including Costa – who was seen talking for a quarter of an hour with Miguel Angel Gil Marin, CEO, before the start of the session in Majadahonda-, which are part of the first team today, although it is still to be completed with some exits and entries, beyond the fact that continuity will be the majority.
Diego Costa is in the market. One year after the end of his contract, after the insistent transfer that Atlético completed in September 2017, the long-awaited return of the forward with whom he defeated Real Madrid and Barcelona in a 38-game league in 2013-14, with the complexity involved, it has not been as expected.
With the nuance that the injuries admit (especially the operation on the fifth metatarsal of the left foot, which kept him out of thirteen duels last season, and a cervical disc herniation that deprived him of 16 this year) that reduced his continuity and his explosiveness, so typical of him, to the point that they separated him from 46 games in two and a half years -the figure is enlarged to 58 if the twelve duels that have been lost due to suspension are added-, he was not the player who dazzled in 2014 with Atlético, who searched for him in 2017.
Not for his game or for his power or for his goals, reduced to 17 goals in 71 games who has played in his second stage in the Madrid team (Atlético has played 128 official matches in that time). He has also given 12 assists. It is an average of one goal every four games. In his first rojiblanco era he averaged one every two games: 64 in 137 games, apart from all his power.
Not even the steadfast confidence of Simeone It has been enough for him to recover his best version. He has not been seen with Atlético except for specific moments, except in the European Super Cup against him Real Madrid, when he was the best footballer on his team (2-4), in August 2018; in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Juventus in 2019, in the semi-finals of the Europa League against Arsenal in 2018 … There are not many more examples.
In fact, he has been the starter for the Argentine coach, ahead of Alvaro Morata. The demonstration is in the final stretch of last year, when he alternated them almost always, but always with the Spanish-Brazilian attacker with a more evident presence in the eleven type, also in the last duel of the Champions League against Leipzig, with the 2-1 defeat that eliminated him in the quarterfinals.
MORATA, “KEY” IN THE NEW PROJECT
The club's plan is to sell to Diego Costa. Not Alvaro Morata. Beyond the Juventus option that emerged in certain press publications or the substitution that he has supported behind Costa in recent times, the Madrid striker has been Atlético's top scorer of the season -16 goals-, his transfer For around 55 million euros, he has just been consolidated after a year and a half on loan from Chelsea and, above all, the club considers him a “key” piece in the new project.
There are several conditions in the case of Coast, of which the Turkish press published on Tuesday the interest of Fenerbahce at. There is no demand from other clubs and other times for him in European football, nor are there hardly any teams capable of facing the high record of some nine million that the Spanish-Brazilian footballer perceives.
At the moment he is still at Atlético. He's already in preseason since this Tuesday. The question is until when, although the aforementioned complexities do not even rule out his permanence in the team when this anomalous transfer period ends. The club, which intends to leave, already manages possibilities to sign a new '9'.
THE PROBABLE DEPARTURE OF ARIAS
It's also on the exit ramp Santiago Arias, that like Diego Costa, He rejoined the preseason on Tuesday after overcoming the Covid-19 that they detected during the holidays and that he has postponed until this afternoon his return to training with the rest of the team at the Sports City of Majadahonda.
While waiting for the concretion of offers for him, the right back is the position with the most players: three. Apart from him, there are English Kieran
Trippier and the croatian Sime Vrsaljko. When all three were at the disposal of Diego Simeone, generally the dismissal was Arias, for which, in addition, the club can achieve a good amount of transfer, taking into account the income needs to be able to address the signings that it intends for the new course.
In two years, since his arrival from PSV Eindhoven, the Colombian international has played 51 official matches of the 96 that have been available for Diego Simeone, of which 42 were from the initial lineup. This last course, Arias participated in 18 matches, 14 at the start, and gave an assist.
He is the fourth outfield player in the squad with the fewest games played last season, only ahead of Sime Vrsaljko (7) and Yannick Carrasco (16), with the fact that neither the Croatian full-back nor the Belgian winger were available until the end of January, and Ivan Saponjic, who only played three games.