ALTHOUGH they play their football in the faraway Spanish top flight league — La Liga — Atletico Madrid this season have a pretty similar story like that of Harare giants Dynamos and CAPS United.
Diego Simeone spent over €261 million during last summer’s transfer window bringing in eight new players including a €126 million outlay on Portuguese teenage sensation Joao Felix from Benfica.
Despite the huge investment, Atleti are no longer the old Atleti that won a lot of hearts even here in Zimbabwe with their solid defending, teamwork and never say die attitude.
For a team that used to challenge the duopoly between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the influx of new signings has seen the Rojiblancos regress this season.
At the moment, Simeone’s team is in fourth place on the log some 13 points behind leaders Real Madrid and in La Liga; that’s a big gap.
To sum up how difficult a task it has been for Simeone to fuse these new players together was the fact his side was knocked out of the Copa del Rey by third-tier side Cultural Leonesa earlier this season.
The last time a lower division side had knocked Atletico out of the competition was way back in December 2011 when a defeat to Albacete saw the club sack Quique Sanchez Flores and hire Simeone.
If truth be told, Atleti have lost their way this season with Simeone struggling to come up with a stable formation to fit in all his new signings.
Here in Zimbabwe, Dynamos and CAPS United have taken a similar path in this transfer window like the one chosen by Atletico last summer.
Makepekepe have so far signed a staggering 21 new players ahead of the 2020 Castle Lager Premiership season.
This means Darlington Dodo is virtually building a new team from the one that lost the championship in the last two games last season.
In Tatenda Tumba, Ishameal Wadi, Ian Nyoni, Joseph Tulani, Leeroy Mavhunga in addition to the likes Phenias Bamusi, Clive Rupiya and Kelvin Ndebele, who were already part of the squad, Dodo now has at least eight wingers in his team.
At most, only two wingers can only start in the first XI which means Dodo needs to come up with a good game plan to somehow accommodate all those players.
While hoarding all the talent can give a team depth in all departments, Dodo could easily find himself in the same predicament Simeone is facing at Atletico.
DeMbare are also one of the biggest spenders in the transfer window after bringing in 14 new players and appear still thirsty for more additions.
DeMbare coach Tonderai Ndiraya just like Dodo will also have to ensure his virtually new team will be up and ready by the time the new season kicks off.
But like what is happening at Atletico Madrid, it will not be a stroll in the park as these news signings will need plenty of time to adjust and get accustomed to the DeMbare way.
Dynamos is a huge beast and it can devour you in an instant if things do not go according to plan.
The only thing that can maintain the equilibrium at this volatile institution is for the team to do well on the pitch and keep the fans happy.