Atletico Madrid supporters should probably have learned a bit of patience by now.
The arrival of David Villa on a three-year deal for €5.1 million was yet another lesson for the Vicente Calderon clan to keep the faith. That inspired transfer, as well as Thibaut Courtois hanging around for another year on loan from Chelsea, sees Diego Simeone’s side as near dead certs to remain Spain’s third big force.
However, a naturally pessimistic approach to life stemming from all sorts of slings and arrows of misfortune landing on their club over the eons is still dominant. For this reason, supporters were all feeling the doom and gloom over the departure of Radamel Falcao to Monaco. But it is not as if the Rojiblancos had not been in the same boat in terms of filling holes in the forward line before.
There was a similar sensation of panic and pitchfork waving in the summer of 2011 when both Forlan and Kun Aguero were sold. Tempers were soothed and the goalscoring duties were fulfilled with the arrival of Falcao from Porto. The sensational strikes of the Colombian forward over two seasons helped Atletico win the Europa League, the Copa del Rey and achieve a third-place finish last year.
Yet again, there was fretting a’plenty around the Vicente Calderon when Falcao apparently decided that a newly-promoted club in the French top-flight was the ideal place to go. How on earth could a club without the biggest of transfer budgets plug this particular gap?
The talented Leo Baptistao has been signed from Rayo Vallecano. However, as promising as the 20-year-old may be, the forward is probably only good for 10 league goals next season, rather than the 28 Falcao racked up last year. David Villa has a fine chance of coming close to that figure. The 31-year-old may certainly be on the down slopes of a glorious career, but Villa has still got the moves.
Although the footballer will not be presented in front of the fans until next Monday, there has been quite the buzz in the red-and-white side of the city.
Leading English language supporters website, Madrid Atleticos, enthused that the club has signed a “true legend”. It was a thrill shared by Marca, who put the striker on the front cover of Tuesday’s edition, the morning after the announcement of the move from the Catalan capital was made.
It is not just the fact that Villa will be leading the line for Atletico next season that has caused quite the stir, but the relatively low transfer fee of €5.1 million. It seems to be the bargain of the century, when considering Villa’s goal scoring record for the club and country.
The transfer not only fuels the optimism of a group of supporters who can be prone to falling into the doldrums from time-to-time, but it also protects Atletico Madrid’s place as Spain’s third great force. Whether or not Villa’s signing is enough to make a move on the big two above the Vicente Calderon club remains to be seen.
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