Atletico Madrid have made their eighth signing of the summer transfer window, swooping up Mario Hermoso for an initial €25million deal with €4million in add-ons from Espanyol.
The Spanish defender has signed a five-year contract with Los Rojiblancos, becoming their fourth defensive signing after Kieran Trippier joined up yesterday.
The former Real Madrid academy product spent three years at the Catalan club, making 54 La Liga appearances and impressive with his work last season. The 24-year-old’s also made a couple of appearances for the Spanish national team and will be joining up with his team-mates immediately.
Godin’s long-term successor?
After Diego Godin left for Inter Milan in the summer, Diego Simeone has been hunting for a proper replacement for the experienced Uruguayan. Brazilian defender Felipe was brought in from FC Porto to be his immediate replacement, but Hermoso has the ability to fill Godin’s void in the long-term.
Hermoso made 32 appearances for Espanyol last season, keeping nine clean sheets in La Liga and also contributing towards three goals as well. The 24-year-old’s known for his tidy work on the ball, but is a strong, assertive defender more than capable of neutralizing the threat of intimidating strikers.
While there wouldn’t be expectations for him to imitate Godin anytime soon, he’ll be expected to reach a certain level quickly. Simeone’s team have earned the reputation of being among the best defensive sides in Europe and he’ll need to prove his defensive steel to soar in Madrid.
Competition for places
Atletico had to fight quite a lot to rope in Hermoso, who was apparently also on Real Madrid’s radar earlier in the summer. However, the 24-year-old won’t be getting a free pass into Los Rojiblancos only because of his reputation due to the severe competition in their defence.
The towering Brazilian Felipe also produced some strong performances for FC Porto last season and will be difficult to overwhelm. Jose Gimenez is irreplaceable due to his fantastic defensive solidity, while Stefan Savic is also on the sidelines craving for his own opportunities to shine.
Hermoso must showcase why Simeone trusted upon him by displaying his complete defensive attributes at the highest level. While it might've been a slight risk for Atletico to go for another centre-back in this transfer window, the 24-year-old could prove doubters wrong by continuing his solid work and help Simeone’s side mount a greater challenge for La Liga going forward.