On Thursday night, Atlético Madrid confirmed 32-year-old Denmark worldwide Daniel Wass’s arrival from Valencia. The signing has underwhelmed many, as Wass is changing the favored Kieran Trippier observe his transfer to Newcastle United earlier on within the transfer window.
The signing, price €2.7 million plus variable add-ons, means Atlético can pocket a tidy revenue from the Trippier sale at a time by which Atleti’s funds are already tight.
The switch additionally makes excellent sense from a taking part in perspective.
Given his age, and given Wass has signed solely an 18-month contract, his is clearly not a long-term resolution. Nevertheless it’s sensible.
Atlético now have another for the remainder of this season. Šime Vrsaljko usually struggles for health and his contract is set to run out this season. Marcos Llorente might be used on the appropriate, however to take action is to waste his abilities in more-advanced positions, and there are additionally doubts about his effectivity in a again 4.
Wass’s arrival means Simeone has a dependable soldier. The Dane has missed solely 10 matches in his whole profession, with three of these coming prior to now fortnight after contracting COVID-19.
Wass arrives understanding he won’t be a common starter within the seasons to come back, however he gives a squad choice with out impeding the membership’s skill to pursue a first-choice candidate this summer time.
The short-term deal additionally means Atleti can permit Vrsaljko to depart in the summertime and retain skilled cowl for one other yr. Wass involves Madrid understanding he won’t be a common starter within the seasons to come back, however he gives a squad choice in each defence and midfield, with out impeding the membership’s skill to pursue a first-choice candidate this summer time.
Critics say Wass is a vital downgrade from Trippier. Nevertheless it appears there was little Atlético may have accomplished to keep away from shedding Trippier, they usually lack the funds to adequately exchange him presently.
“I had a lot of conversations with the supervisor and behind the scenes with the Atlético president,” Trippier advised the Athletic this week. “They made it clear they didn’t need me to go, however I had a couple of household causes for why I wanted to come back again.”
It’s evident that it doesn’t matter what Atleti needed, Trippier was not hanging round. That they had little selection however to promote. And that is probably not such a large deal.
Trippier’s performances had dropped off considerably because the summer time. After registering an help in LaLiga each 495 minutes in 2019/20 and each 412 minutes in 2020/21, he ran up 979 minutes with out a single one this season. Whereas his work price and angle shouldn’t be questioned, his thoughts was clearly elsewhere.
Wass’s motivation can’t be questioned, as he’s simply joined the membership. Whereas he might lack the pure high quality, he’ll search steadiness and consistency.
There are additionally questions as as to whether Wass actually is a right-back. He has solely performed there as soon as for Valencia this season underneath José Bordalás, however he has performed there often on a global stage for Denmark. At Valencia, he lined up on the place 55 occasions over the previous three seasons.
Considerably, Wass has primarily performed as a right-back, fairly than an offensive-minded wing-back. That means Simeone will proceed to pursue a return to a 4-4-2 form.
Some stats recommend he performs higher in that position than in midfield, with WhoScored’s (sometimes-questionable) match ranking determine final yr placing him at a 6.96 common at right-back, in comparison with 6.60 in midfield. Valencia followers echo that sentiment, feeling his recreation has dropped since returning to midfield underneath Bordalás.
Photograph by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto by way of Getty Photographs
But, that potential weak spot may once more be thought-about a energy. His flexibility is what Simeone values from his gamers (see Saúl Ñíguez), and it additionally gives energy in depth. In midfield, Wass can carry the ball in a means which few present choices are in a position to.
Crucially, Wass is additionally skilled in LaLiga.
“We nonetheless want new gamers to adapt to our system extra shortly,” Simeone famously stated after the 7-3 win over Real Madrid within the 2019 preseason. Additions like Antoine Griezmann this summer time solely gasoline that concept, that Simeone prefers gamers who require as little adaptation time as potential.
Wass has 224 LaLiga appearances underneath his belt already, along with 32 Europa League outings and 11 Champions League video games. He is a participant who has been there and accomplished that for each membership and nation.
Precisely the sort of signing which will have been frowned upon earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, Wass is sound enterprise for Atlético given the pandemic-induced monetary restraints, as nicely the pressing want for a alternative following Trippier’s inconvenient departure. Atleti are unlikely to generate income on Wass, but it surely does purchase them time to improve. If €2.7 million is all it takes to unleash Llorente’s potential in assault and canopy for Vrsaljko, it’s a worth solely price paying.