Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: 2018-19 signings compared

Rodrigo said on his arrival Atletico Madrid have the best squad in LaLiga, but how have their new signings settled compared to Barcelona?

Rodrigo of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Arthur.   -  Getty Images

The last game between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona was effectively LaLiga's 2017-18 decider, with Lionel Messi's free-kick taking the Catalan club closer to the title.

Since that March meeting both teams have invested in their squads, with Andres Iniesta and Gabi are among the key players for the respective teams to have moved on to new clubs.

But Ernesto Valverde and Diego Simeone are set to name very similar sides to that March game when they face off at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Barca having a one-point lead at the top of the table.

Valverde has been criticised for not using his new signings enough and Simeone seems to prefer his trusted old guard. Starting with the five new faces at Atletico, we assess each of the new arrivals to see what impact they have made after switching clubs.

SANTIAGO ARIAS

Defender Santiago Arias vies for a ball with Leganes' Jonathan Silva when the two teams met early in November.   -  AFP

 

The departure of Sime Vrsaljko to Inter created a spot at right-back, but former PSV defender Arias is yet to nail down the place for himself. He has made five LaLiga appearances this season with Simeone appearing to prefer the experience of Juanfran.

NIKOLA KALINIC

Croat Nikola Kalinic has made nine appearances for the Rojiblancos since the summer move from AC Milan.   -  AP

 

Vrsaljko's fellow Croatia international Kalinic has also been unable to force his way into Simeone's plans, with Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa a partnership he has not broken. He is yet to score or record an assist from eight appearances in LaLiga and the Champions League.

THOMAS LEMAR

Thomas Lemar has scored one and assisted a goal in 11 LaLiga appearances for Atletico Madrid.   -  Getty Images

 

Atletico paid a reported €60million to sign Lemar from Monaco, but the France international has only scored twice in the league so far. The 23-year-old won the Ligue 1 title at his old club, though, so should improve given time to build relationships with his new team-mates.

GELSON MARTINS

Gelson Martins has made seven appearances for Atletico Madrid so far this season.   -  Getty Images

 

Another winger addition, Atletico is yet to reach an agreement with Gelson's old club Sporting CP on his transfer fee. The Portugal international has only played 28 minutes in the Champions League so far and is not typically in Simeone's side for LaLiga matches either.

RODRIGO

Only two players boast a better passing accuracy than Atletico Madrid's Rodrigo, who has completed 91.83 per cent of his passes.   -  Twitter:@AtletiEnglish

 

While his fellow new arrivals are yet to make a real impact, Rodrigo has slotted in seamlessly to Atletico's midfield since returning to the club from Villarreal. The Spain international has made 13 appearances in LaLiga and the Champions League, helping to address the loss of club captain Gabi. Of players to have made at least 500 passes in the league this season, only Fran Beltran and Toni Kroos can better his passing accuracy of 91.83 per cent, while his 36 recoveries is among the best return in the Champions League. At just 22, he should get even better too.

ARTHUR

Arthur has featured in each of Barcelona's four Champions League fixtures so far.   -  Getty Images

 

The Brazil midfielder may not welcome the comparisons to Xavi and Iniesta, but Arthur has been such a strong addition to the Barcelona midfield it is easy to see why some onlookers feel he is thesuccessor. Arthur has featured in all four Champions League games since he signed from Gremio, with a particularly dominant performance in the Wembley win over Tottenham. Like Rodrigo, Arthur is just 22 so should be a lynchpin for his new club for many years to come.

CLEMENT LENGLET

Injury to Samuel Umtiti has helped Clement Lenglet play more minutes than he or his manager, Ernesto Valverde, might have envisaged.   -  Getty Images

 

Samuel Umtiti's injury has resulted in Lenglet playing perhaps more than Valverde would have planned, the defender starting six LaLiga games so far. He scored an own goal against former club Sevilla, but Barca still ran out 4-2 winners at Camp Nou. "We are delighted by his performance and we are convinced he can do more," said Valverde of Lenglet's start.

MALCOM

Malcom (centre) celebrates his first Barcelona goal.   -  Getty Images

 

Unlike his fellow Brazilian Arthur, Malcom has yet to become a regular in the Barcelona line-up. He has played only 82 minutes in LaLiga and made a single brief cameo in the Champions League, although he did score against Inter in that game to open his competitive account for the club.

ARTURO VIDAL

Arturo Vidal (second from left) has got a public rebuke from general manager for complaining about a lack of game time.   -  Getty Images

 

Vidal has always been a spiky character and he has not changed since joining Barca, earning a public rebuke from general manager Pep Segura for "disrespecting" his team-mates by complaining about a lack of game time. Vidal has recorded two goals and two assists in nine LaLiga appearances, but does not seem to be in Valverde's preferred lineup when he has a full squad available.

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