Atletico Madrid has garnered a reputation as being a bit of a striker factory and for good reason. They have bought and then sold on players who are or were at some point world class such as Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, and Diego Forlan. With their season coming to a close and everything they achieved, the New York Times did a story on Atletico’s ability to develop strikers that are the envy of the top clubs in Europe.
They profiled five strikers who have come out or are likely to come out of the Atletico Madrid factory and that list includes Fernando Torres, Diego Costa, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, and Radamel Falcao. The NYT credits Atletico with having a tremendously valuable “skill at knowing whom to acquire and when to sell” that allows them to compete with the financial powers of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Premier League has benefited more than any other league from the arrival of the tremendous talent coming out of Atletico with Torres and Aguero tearing up the league from the moment they arrived. Torres has obviously slowed down considerably but he was truly a force to be reckoned with when he arrived at Liverpool for a then club record transfer fee of $40 million in 2007.
Before Fernando Torres’s departure, Atletico splashed $25 million on Sergio Aguero from Argentina’s Independiente. Five years later the little Argentine was a target of both Chelsea and Manchester City but the Blues were eventually outbid and Atletico turned a huge profit after selling him for more than $62 million. Despite the huge price tag, it was money well spent for City as Aguero has become one of the best strikers in the Premier League.
The Atletico Madrid to Premier League pipeline appears ready to be used again with the supposed impeding arrival of Diego Costa to Stamford Bridge. Costa arrived from SC Braga in Portugal for a few million dollars and could be sold for around $50 million which would of course be an enormous profit for the club. The deal to Chelsea for Costa is not a sure thing yet and Atletico Madrid hopes he stays for another season or two but eventually the striker will move on and will be replaced by some other world class striker.
Atletico Madrid has proven that sometimes in world football, a great scouting and talent evaluation system, paired with just enough money to splash the cash can overcome reckless spending. Whatever it is that they are doing over at Atletico must be working and other clubs should be taking notes. Or they could just keep paying Atletico for all the hard work and just take their best players.
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