5 Bold Predictions for Jan Oblak's Debut Season with Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid's new goalkeeper will be filled with optimism and excitement heading into the next campaign.
"It was my decision to leave for Atletico," Jan Oblak told Portuguese newspaper A Bola, according to the Press Association (via ESPN).
Ever since I was a child I have dreamed about playing in the Spanish league, which is a better league than the Portuguese one. This was always a big challenge that I wanted to take on. Benfica wanted me to stay and the president has done everything to stop me from leaving, but my wish was to sign for Atletico.
The 21-year-old is bound to be a little apprehensive about a move to another country and team, but he has the confidence to progress in his new surroundings.
He Will Prove He's Atletico's No. 1 for the Season
Oblak isn't the only new arrival between the posts for Atletico. Shot-stopper Miguel Angel Moya joined the club from Getafe in June.
At 30 years old, Moya is experienced within La Liga, and he has lived in Madrid for the last two years.
He's the ideal back-up goalkeeper, but his ability means he will push Oblak for a starting position.
This isn't a new situation for Oblak, who only became Jorge Jesus' first choice at Benfica when Brazilian Artur Moraes made a number of errors midway through last season.
The money involved means Oblak is likely to start as Diego Simeone's favoured keeper, but he will prove that it's the right decision throughout the term.
To Establish Himself as the Long-Term Answer Between the Posts
The financial predicament at the club meant that the sale of David de Gea in 2011 was absolutely necessary for the future.
His replacement, Thibaut Courtois, was only ever supposed to stay for the year, but his improvement and Petr Cech's sustained performances meant that Chelsea couldn't afford to have both players in the same dressing room.
Oblak's agent, Mika Mlaka, said that rivals Real were also keen on the Slovakian, according to A Bola (via Marca).
He clearly has a lot of talent, and with the player signing a six-year deal, he should be sticking around for some time.
There were mitigating circumstances why Courtois and de Gea had to leave, but there's no reason why Oblak can't be the spine of the side for years to come.
A Disagreement to Come to the Surface but Quickly Disappear
The goalkeeper didn't do a full pre-season last summer after he failed to return from his holiday, via Footynews24.com.
He believed his contract had expired, and he was free to find a new club.
That was obviously some poor advice from his agent, but Oblak isn't afraid to speak his mind, and that could cause him problems under Simeone.
Like a small child finding his feet, expect Oblak to test the Argentine's patience a little before quickly retracting any lack of discipline.
Collect Some Sort of Silverware
It will be incredibly difficult for Atleti to retain the Primera title with both Barcelona and Real Madrid looking a lot stronger.
They have also lost some key players, and although they have bought well in the transfer window, the strength in depth at the big two will probably see them fall short.
The side are perfectly set up for cup competitions, and it was Los Blancos that knocked them out of the Copa del Rey and Champions League last year.
Oblak was part of a Benfica side that achieved a treble last season, and that experience will prove invaluable when in the hunt for further trophies.
To Become an International Regular
"I don’t come to replace anyone. I come as another player," remarked Oblak at his unveiling, via the official Atletico Madrid website.
He realises he's still young but knows that by fulfilling his potential he doesn't have to worry about rival competitors.
The same applies on the international scene, with Internazionale's Samir Handanovic currently the main man.
It's almost two years since Oblak made his debut for his country, and if he continues his ascent, his three caps should rise dramatically in the next 12 months.