Atletico Madrid have continued their
spending spree for the summer with the recruit of defender Mario Hermos from
Espanyol. The 24-year-old has been regarded as one of La Liga’s most consistent
centre-backs in the past 18 months and he has now made the return to the
Spanish capital, where he was previously in the ranks of Real Madrid.
Hermoso had a release clause worth £35m on
his contract with Espanyol, but Atleti have managed to secure his signature for
around £22m plus add-ons (£4m), considering he had just 12 months remaining on
his contract. A statement from Atleti read: “We welcome an extraordinary
player, who, despite his youth, has experience and a promising future. He
arrives to make our squad stronger and we wish him all the best in this
beautiful new challenge at Atletico de Madrid.”
Atleti have made their transfer intentions
clear for the summer and they have already spent more than £220m to strengthen
the squad. Aside from Hermoso, they have also landed the services of Kieran
Trippier, Marcos Llorente, Joao Felix, Hector Herrera, Nicolas Ibanez and Ivan
Saponjic, and manager Diego Simeone has the tricky task of getting the players
into the groove ahead of next season.
Simeone’s side have struggled to compete for the Spanish league title since their triumph during the 2013/14 season and during this period, Barcelona have dominated the proceedings by winning four of the previous five crowns. Owing to this, it has become fundamental that a substantial amount of money needs to be spent to catch up with the Catalan giants and it remains to be seen whether Atleti can close the gap to the top next season.
Hermoso has made the switch to Atleti after two seasons at Espanyol where he managed 54 league appearances. During this period, he has been able to break into the Spain senior squad and it will be interesting to see whether he can establish himself with the national team on a permanent basis.