Simeone has acknowledged that Atlético Madrid are going through a difficult transition as a result of the loss of “top players” like Godín and Griezmann.
Diego Simeone has given an interview to Fox Sports, in which he reflected on the current situation at Atlético Madrid, admitting the club is going through a difficult transition as a result of the loss of “top players”.
Griezmann and Godín leaving
Last month Antoine Griezmann announced he would be departing the club this summer, leaving the Madrid outfit scrambling to find his substitute. Benfica starlet Joao Felix has been widely tipped to replace the French star and Simeone confirmed a Felix deal is something that “is being worked on.”
“He is one of the options. Historically, Atlético Madrid buy players to develop them, like Oblak, Giménez, Griezmann … We want a talented guy who can absorb our ideas," said the Argentine coach.
Uruguayan defensive stalwart, Diego Godín – the man who will forever be remembered for his equalising headed goal against Barcelona on the last day of the season to snatch the league title from El Blaugrana in 2014 – also leaves this summer, reportedly, to join Inter Milan.
His defensive partner Theo Hernandez is also expected to leave, while central midfielder Rodri is reportedly on the cusp of signing for Manchester City.
The challenge of a difficult transition for Atlético
And Simeone acknowledged the challenge ahead in rebuilding with several top players set to for leave the Wanda Metropolitano, Atlético's home now for the past two seasons after the move from the old Estadio Vincente Calderón, a place for which, the coach admitted, there remains much nostalgia. (The stadium will soon be torn down to be replaced by an apartment block).
"There are a lot of guys leaving and it's a difficult time of transition for the team. But we have a challenge. Top people are leaving, but the goal is to continue competing. The rebuild already started last year, but it is true that it is one of the most difficult projects since I arrived.”
He added: “Godín is leaving and we are training up Giménez, Saúl, Koke. We believe they will be the leaders of the future of Atlético.”
And on the transition from the Calderón to the Wanda: "It has been a very difficult transition,” he explained. “It is hard for us to move from our home. We are nostalgic, but when we begin to live with the new one, we’ll like it. We have a wonderful stadium.”
Simeone in Buenos Aires to accept award
Simeone is currently back in Argentina, where he has returned to accept the Government of the City of Buenos Aires’ award for distinguished sports personality of year, after leading Atlético to a second-place finish in LaLiga and the last 16 of the Champions League last season.