Two days after Atletico lost to Barcelona in the central match of the 16th round of La Liga, rumors appeared in the press about Diego Simeone's desire to leave his post.

As reported on El Chiringuito TV, the head coach decided to leave the capital of Spain and has already told about his intention to the club's CEO Miguel Angel Gil.

Thus, as early as the summer of 2023, a whole era in the history of “mattress covers” may end.

At the time of Simeone's arrival, Atlético could hardly boast of being one of the strongest teams in La Liga.

In the previous two seasons, he did not rise above seventh place in the championship table, and at the end of December 2011 he was only tenth, losing 21 points to the leading Real Madrid.

But the Argentine specialist managed to rectify the situation as soon as possible and finish in the top five, as well as immediately win the Europa League.

But as it turned out, this was only the beginning of a long journey.

Starting from the next season, the "mattress" began to impose worthy competition on the much more powerful in composition and with huge financial resources "Real" and "Barcelona" and subsequently never fell below third place.

Moreover, they won La Liga twice, took the Cup and the Super Cup of the country, and in 2018 they again raised the trophy of the second most important European Cup over their heads.

Moreover, twice Simeone's wards were on the verge of triumph in the Champions League, but both times they stumbled in the confrontation with their sworn rival Real Madrid.

However, so far everything is moving towards the fact that the current competitive year will be the worst for Atlético in the era of Simeone.

The team is only fifth in the national championship and lags behind not only the recognized favorites, but also inferior to it in the class of Real Sociedad and Betis.

However, the biggest disappointment was the fiasco in the Champions League, where Madrid were the last in their group and not only failed to reach the playoffs, but were completely left without the Eurospring.

After that, there were rumors about the imminent resignation of Simeone.

Luis Enrique, who led the Spanish national team at that time, was named as his possible successor, while the chances of Diego leaving were assessed as scanty.

The reason for this was a colossal penalty of €14 million, which had to be paid in the event of a breach of the agreement.

The Cope publication even reported that the club's management still believe in the Argentinean and hope for his success in the Example.

So what has changed since then?

Perhaps the Atlético bosses have revised their minds about the team's prospects this season.

Maybe Simeone himself finally realized the need to move on.

It is possible that the situation around Joao Felix, one of the key and most expensive football players of the team, became a kind of trigger.

In all tournaments, the Portuguese scored eight (5 + 3) points in the “goal + pass” system - only Antoine Griezmann (6 + 8) has more.

However, this does not prevent the “Indians” from seriously considering the option of renting him.

What's more, his move to Chelsea is already considered a done deal.

And this is hardly to the liking of the mentor.

After all, he just recently announced how important the forward is for him.

However, the potential departure of Felix to London indicates not so much distrust of the young striker, who has not yet justified the €127.2 million spent on his acquisition (according to Transfermarkt).

Rather, he demonstrates that even after ten years of being in the elite of world football, Atlético is more likely a donor club, rather than a top one, ready to spend huge amounts of money to strengthen the clip, thereby increasing the chances of becoming a full-fledged opponent of Real Madrid and Barcelona .

At the moment, the cost of the composition of the "mattress" is estimated at €509.5 million, while that of its rivals in La Liga is much higher (€849 million and €797 million, respectively).

In the Champions League, the situation is even worse.

Among the participants of the current draw, they are located only on the 13th line, losing not only to all the grandees,

And as practice shows, in the near future the situation is unlikely to change dramatically.

Undoubtedly, the system of financial control of Examples ties the hands of the owners of many teams, but Atlético bosses have not previously been famous for their extravagance.

Yes, over the past ten seasons they have spent more than they earned (€1.063 billion - €939.9 million), but much less than a number of other teams.

During the same period, Barcelona spent more than €1.5 billion on transfers, Real Madrid - almost €1.1 billion (however, such frugality of the Blancos is due to the fact that four years earlier they invested almost € in newcomers 260 million).

Paris Saint-Germain, City and United spared no expense, and Chelsea invested an incredible €1.7 billion in players.

And although the leaders of these clubs were often wrong, such an aggressive transfer policy indicates a desire to provide the coach with the best personnel and increase his chances of success.

"Atletico" either did not seek, or did not have a real opportunity to invite superstars.

Suffice it to say that over the past four years, he has only spent more than €50 million on a footballer twice (a fairly average amount at the present time).

In addition to Felix, only the purchase of Tom Lemar (€72 million) can be classified as expensive.

True, at the time of the transition, he was not considered an extra-class performer, and he did not become one even now.

Perhaps Simeone finally realized that he would not be able to fully realize himself in Madrid, which is why he decided to look for a new place.

Mass purchases are not to be expected, and with the current line-up it will be difficult to jump above your head again.

And all this against the background of the failures of the mentor himself.

It was not possible to reformat Atlético into a brightly attacking team, attempts to "return to the roots" and again rely on impenetrable defense were also unsuccessful.

And the reason for this can be both a coach tired of the routine and wards who have reached the ceiling.

Thus, Simeone's intention to end his stay at his native Atlético can be considered a logical step that can benefit both sides.

In the capital, he has achieved tremendous success and turned the "mattress" from the middle peasants into strong players in La Liga, and now he can take on other tasks.

The only question is where to go.

It's one thing if the Argentine is just going to change the situation.

Another, if he wants to get at the disposal of stronger performers and compete for the Champions League trophy.

In the first case, Simeone may well opt for the Italian championship.

At one time he defended the colors of both Inter and Lazio and knows the local football cuisine very well.

True, neither the Milanese nor the Romans are planning changes on the coaching bridge in the near future.

Simone Inzaghi has already managed to rehabilitate himself for not the most successful start and helped the Nerazzurri get into the Champions League playoffs for the first time since 2012.

And Maurizio Sarri extended the contract with Biancocelesti until 2025 in the summer.

Until recently, it seemed that vacancies for the position of head coach of Juventus were about to appear, but Massimiliano Allegri still managed to return the team to a winning track.

Turintsy have won eight matches in a row in Serie A, climbed to second place in the table and, together with Milan, are now the main pursuers of Napoli.

In other countries, there are also not very many options.

Take at least Germany and France.

Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain are unlikely to refuse the services of Julian Nagelsmann and Christophe Galtier, respectively, and in other teams the Argentine is unlikely to be able to fully realize his talent.

In fact, he will do the same as in Atletico - squeeze all the juice out of not the strongest players and put spokes in the wheels of the recognized favorites.

It's not easy in England either.

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp seem untouchable, and the same can be said for Michel Arteta, whose Arsenal are racing to their first title since 2004.

Manchester United have made a big bet on Erik ten Hag.

This is evidenced at least by their decision to allocate more than €200 million for transfers and take the side of a specialist in the situation with Cristiano Ronaldo.

It is hardly worth expecting the resignation of Antonio Conte, whose Tottenham are fighting for a place in the top four.

Consequently, only two clubs remain capable of attracting Simeone's interest, both of which are at completely different points in development.

Despite multimillion-dollar spending, Chelsea still cannot gain momentum after the arrival of Graham Potter, under which the chair is already swinging with might and main.

And although in many respects the reason for the failures lies in the injuries of the players, and the specialist has a valid five-year contract, by the summer he may lose his position.

The new owner of the “aristocrats” Todd Bowley is unlikely to be satisfied with a place in the middle of the table, and that is where they are now.

Of the last eight meetings in the Premier League, the Blues have won only one and are tenth.

Newcastle, by contrast, are having one of the best stretches of their new history.

And the reason for this is not only the acquisitions made after the arrival of the owners from Saudi Arabia, but also the excellent work of Eddie Howe.

Over the past six months, eight new players have joined the team, but the mentor skillfully built them into the overall system, and they immediately began to bring results.

In the championship, the Magpies have not suffered a single defeat since August and seriously claim to be in the top three.

After 17 rounds, they have the same number of points with Manchester United (both - 35 each), and are second only to City (39) and Arsenal (44).

However, the new owners may well feel that moving to a higher level at Newcastle requires a more skilled specialist than Howe.

And then their eyes may fall on Simeon.

And for the Argentine himself, this will be a very interesting challenge.

Here he is unlikely to be burdened in terms of finances and in the future he will be able to build a worthy competitor for the current giants.