Atletico Madrid and the curse of the No.9
Atletico Madrid‘s search for a new No.9 goes on.
Los Rojiblancos will want to make their next striker signing a good one after several years of disappointing acquisitions.
Diego Simeone’s squad is in need of a regular scorer after Alvaro Morata, Diego Costa and Joao Felix managed just 30 goals between them last season.
For perspective, Radamel Falcao managed totals of 36 and 34 in his final two seasons at Atletico before leaving for Monaco in 2013.
Since then, only one strike partnership has been able to match the Colombian’s tallies – Diego Costa and David Villa in 2013/14.
Both Costa and Villa departed the club that summer, leaving some goalscoring boots that have never really been filled by a natural No.9 – Antoine Griezmann did his best, of course.
Raul Jimenez was the only striker brought in to replace them that same window, but he scored just once all season.
Fernando Torres arrived in January but, in the twilight years of a career that had been derailed somewhat, he wasn’t able to contribute the goals Atletico were lacking.
In the summer of 2015, Simeone went in search of strikers, signing Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto.
The former was a complete disaster, leaving the club a few months later, while the latter didn’t make much of an impression.
Rafael Santos Borre, another summer signing, didn’t make a first team appearance.
Ahead of the 2016/17 season, Kevin Gameiro was the next striker through the door at Los Rojiblancos.
The Frenchman scored 16 goals in his first season and 11 in his second campaign but never really convinced Simeone.
Then came Diego Costa, who was made to wait for his Atletico return thanks to the club’s transfer ban.
Despite a good start, the Brazilian-born Spaniard hasn’t hit the heights of his first stint with Simeone because of a combination of injuries and poor form.
Nikola Kalinic followed Costa but couldn’t hold down a regular place in Simeone’s starting line-up, leaving El Cholo to go back into the market.
Morata was loaned from Chelsea in January 2019 and, although his numbers haven’t been bad – 16 goals last season – he’s not the striker to take Atletico to the next level.
So, Los Rojiblancos will continue to look for someone fit to lace Falcao‘s boots and provide a partnership for both they and Joao Felix to thrive in.