Atletico Madrid have started their January transfer business early, as the club announced the signing of Celta Vigo star Augusto Fernandez on Friday.
Per Atleti's official website, the 29-year-old has signed a contract that will keep him at the Vicente Calderon until the end of the 2018-19 campaign. A transfer fee was not disclosed.
Fernandez is a versatile box-to-box midfielder known for his high work rate, which should make him a phenomenal fit for manager Diego Simeone's system based around defensive fortitude and quick counter-attacking football.
Football blogger MediocentroEN compared him to Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal:
Augusto Fernandez is a superb two-way midfield player, another great signing by Atleti. He's basically Vidal minus the goal threat.— MC (@mediocentroEN) December 31, 2015
Atleti sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero expressed his delight at signing the veteran, per the club's official website:
He's a player's of proven experience in the League that will bring quality and competition to a great midfield such as ours. His incorporation will help us face the demands of having to play three competitions.
In the club we are delighted with his arrival and during his stay in the League we have been able to confirm that he has great technical and tactical qualities.
Fernandez joined Celta in 2012 and has been one of La Liga's best-kept secrets ever since, despite his consistent performances for the team.
Atletico were reportedly in the market for another central midfielder after losing Tiago Mendes to injury, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan. Fernandez is an ideal replacement, who should be able to make an immediate impact thanks to his wealth of top-level experience.
He'll likely replace young starlet Oliver Torres in the starting XI until Mendes' return.