Atlético’s Daniel Wass pursuit shows a club unsure about its future

Atlético Madrid misplaced Kieran Trippier to Newcastle United earlier this month and wish somebody to exchange the English defender now. Valencia’s Daniel Wass was linked with a transfer to the Wanda Metropolitano earlier than Jose Bordalás rejected the concept. Nonetheless, more moderen experiences state that the Dane may be very near becoming a member of Diego Simeone’s facet.

The issue is that Atlético have to resolve whether or not they’re constructing for the future or attempting to take what they’ll from this season.

After Wednesday’s loss to Actual Sociedad, Simeone insisted Atlético will proceed to combat in LaLiga and the Champions League. However primarily based on what we now have seen from this crew thus far, they received’t win both competitors.

It’s value questioning whether or not Atlético will (or ought to) proceed to spend cash on a squad that’s more likely to get torn aside in the summertime anyway.


Real Sociedad v Atletico de Madrid - Copa Del Rey

Photograph by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Photographs

Atlético have a host of points, from tactical incoherence to particular person errors, however the defending is essentially the most worrying half of the present debacle. The outcomes communicate for themselves, with losses to Sevilla, Granada, Real Madrid, Athletic Club and Actual Sociedad in simply over a month. The fixed change from three to 4 on the again makes signing a defensive participant much more troublesome, and Atlético additionally need somebody who can play as a center-back.

Do they need a winger? Or a full-back? Or a pure center-back?

Ought to it undergo, the Wass signing suggests Atlético aren’t actually positive and are as a substitute making use of a bandage — selecting up a versatile, midfielder-turned-full-back with good set-piece supply.

Who must be signed as a substitute?

We used a clustering approach (k-Means) to group gamers much like Trippier in an effort to seek out a appropriate alternative. The info was taken from Statsbomb via FBRef. We filtered out gamers who aren’t defenders (some gamers have defender and midfielder tags, so if you happen to see some unusual names in there, they’re most probably midfielders who typically play as defenders).


The info we used to cluster the gamers had been chosen with the optimistic traits Trippier dropped at the desk for Simeone and the issues he wants to exchange.

(When you have any doubts about what these stats imply, you possibly can try their glossaries above the tables.)

The stats we included had been:

  • Complete passes
  • Key passes
  • Last third passes
  • Crosses into the penalty space
  • Progressive passes
  • Tackles
  • Pressures
  • Tackles + Interceptions
  • Touches
  • Attacking dribbles
  • Carries

Nordi Mukiele retains popping up in a number of locations when potential Trippier replacements are mentioned. The Athletic point out the French defender as a part of their “Smart Transfers” phase. The Atlético Stats Twitter account additionally names the 24-year-old as a candidate, together with a number of different gamers. He falls someplace between Brighton’s Marc Cucurella and Chelsea’s Reece James on the plot above (the space between factors doesn’t actually matter right here as we clustered throughout a number of dimensions, so this plot is simply taking a look at stress and crosses into the penalty space).

Doing enterprise with Pink Bull Leipzig because the January switch market closes could be fairly troublesome. Mukiele has a year-and-a-half left on his contract. and it might take a vital payment to make Leipzig even think about promoting him. The German facet purchased Mukiele for €15 million in 2018 and absolutely see a chance to, at the very least, double their cash on the versatile defender.

RB Leipzig - Arminia Bielefeld

Photograph by Jan Woitas/image alliance by way of Getty Photographs

That may not be a dangerous deal if Atlético had been positive of the course by which they’re going. Spending large now would possibly flip into a disastrous transfer if Simeone decides to name it a day and walks away from the Wanda in the summertime. Mukiele may be a solid-enough get, however Atlético would possibly as effectively simply wait to spend large if this season is already misplaced.

With that in thoughts, proper now it’s a safer guess to purchase or mortgage a cheap and skilled participant.

One participant who popped up on Mukiele’s “related gamers” web page on FBRef was energetic Celta Vigo full-back and club captain Hugo Mallo. He additionally seems on our record of gamers much like Trippier who’re 25 or older. Mallo must be on the current shortlist, with a watch on Mukiele for the future.

However as we all know, Atlético appear to be edging nearer to Wass. The previous Celta man is extremely versatile, a slightly-less energetic model of Saúl Ñiguez. He doesn’t have the general high quality of the Marcos Llorente/Saúl hybrid participant, however he’s clearly being checked out as a stop-gap resolution. He turns 33 in Could, and he’s not as highly effective a runner as Trippier or as defensively-solid as somebody like Llorente.

There was no payment talked about for Wass, however he will likely be cheap as his contract runs out in June. The participant has apparently acknowledged his want to go away Valencia, and that ought to assist in negotiations. However signing Wass for a payment in January, when he’s out of contract in the summertime, is one other signal of Atlético’s incoherent technique of late.

Who’re Atlético, and who do they wish to turn into? Bringing in Wass received’t assist us reply these questions.

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