Saul Niguez has praised Hector Herrera's attitude but acknowledged he has work to do to earn a starting place at Atletico Madrid.

Herrera has started just one LaLiga match since his arrival from Porto in July, featuring from the outset in the side's goalless draw with Celta Vigo in September.

That game came three days after Herrera scored his first goal for Atleti as a substitute with a timely equaliser in the last minute of 2-2 draw with Juventus in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Saul has played every minute of the team's league campaign.

But the Spain international pointed to Herrera's appearance as a substitute for striker Alvaro Morata in Sunday's draw at Real Valladolid as evidence of the new man's positive approach.

"I think he's amazing," Saul told LaLiga's official website. "People are surprised that he hasn't been getting game time but, at the end of the day, you have to earn it.

"We saw the other day when he played in a different position. We have always set an example for him, because he keeps training very well and, as I said, he wants to listen and to learn.

"And despite the fact he's an experienced player, he's open-minded. In the dressing room, he's a very good guy."

Saul also gave a positive assessment of Atletico's other new arrivals for 2019-20, including forward Ivan Saponjic, who joined the club from Benfica in July but is yet to feature.

"Renan Lodi and Kieran Trippier, they're great at getting up and down the wing," Saul said. "They're top players and they pose a real threat because they're excellent at crossing.

"As for Felipe and Mario Hermoso, both of them are very experienced and top-class centre-backs, but their most salient and important feature – as with the rest of the signings – is that they have a willingness to learn and to listen, regardless of how experienced they may be.

"Joao Felix is getting more playing time than Saponjic but the same goes for him as the other lads. He's always working hard in training, he's a very strong guy when it comes to holding off defenders and creating space, and he has great movement in the box."

Diego Simeone backed his Atletico Madrid forwards to come good in LaLiga but said they need "more forcefulness and anger" to find the net.

Atletico were held to a second consecutive goalless LaLiga draw when they failed to break down a resolute Real Valladolid side at Estadio Jose Zorrilla on Sunday and Simeone admitted his side were slow to get going.

The Rojiblancos improved in the second half but the closest they went to scoring was an Angel Correa shot that hit the post, leaving them with just one win from their past five league games, with Atleti failing to score in four of those.

Simeone gave credit to Valladolid, who missed a first-half penalty, saying: "The opponent was better in the first half. We did very little.

"In the second we were much better, it was more intense, we were more keen to show danger and we created a situation to win. The second half was closer to how we wanted to play from the start."

Asked about his side's problems in front of goal, after a third 0-0- draw in four LaLiga matches, Simeone said: "We need more precision, more forcefulness and anger.

"I see [Alvaro] Morata and [Diego] Costa have the intent, enthusiasm and desire to do things well and they have all my support.

"We have to wait, because they will find the answer for sure."

Morata, who went close to scoring when his second-half shot hit the face of Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip, said he felt his team-mates were affected by their midweek trip to Moscow in the Champions League.

Atletico beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 five days before their trip to Valladolid, with Joao Felix and Thomas Partey on the score-sheet.

"It is not easy to play after having played a game so far [Moscow]," said Morata.

"We are tired but there is no excuse.

"We are fine, it is not easy, LaLiga is more difficult than a few years ago. If we continue along this line we will be up there."

Atletico Madrid's stuttering season continued as they were held to a third goalless draw in four LaLiga matches by Real Valladolid, who remain unbeaten at home in LaLiga this season.

Diego Simeone's men were let off the hook when Sandro Ramirez ballooned a penalty over the crossbar in the first half at Estadio Jose Zorrilla but failed to impose their authority in a game they were expected to win.

Atleti went into the match with a record of seven goals in seven LaLiga matches this season and their attack was turgid again here, with strike partners Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata receiving scant service.

Valladolid had lost all of their previous eight league matches against Atleti but held firm to claim a valuable point in their push for the top half of the table.

Sandro Ramirez fired a warning shot into Jan Oblak's body as Valladolid tried to unsettle the visitors but Diego Simeone's men dominated the ball early on and slowed the game down.

Chances were few and far between until Thomas Partey tripped Sandro in the box and, after a lengthy VAR review, the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Sandro stepped up in the hope of scoring his first goal for the club but got his penalty all wrong, sending the ball curling high over the crossbar.

Saul Niguez fizzed a shot narrowly wide from 25 yards as Atletico adopted a more direct approach after half-time.

Morata got in behind the hosts' defence and fired a shot that hit goalkeeper Jordi Masip in the face before Valladolid countered and Sandro went close with an effort on the turn.

Kieran Trippier's cross created a chance for Angel Correa with 10 minutes left but the substitute's powerful shot pinged back off the post to the relief of the home crowd, who will have been delighted with a point against one of the title favourites.

 

What does it mean? One win in five for Simeone's men

While it is too early to start ruling Atletico out of the title race, Simeone will be concerned by a lack of cutting edge in attack that has contributed to a run of one win, three draws and one defeat in their last five league games.

They are second in the table but three points behind leaders Real Madrid.

Morata more lively

While Costa was largely a bystander, Morata provided Atleti with an outlet and battled through some heavy challenges to keep his side on the front foot.

Sandro's struggle

Three seasons ago, Sandro scored 14 LaLiga goals in 30 appearances for Malaga and looked a star in the making. Now, at the age of just 24, he looks a spent force and the way he hung his head after blazing Valladolid's penalty over the crossbar suggested he feels like one, too.

What's next?

Valladolid travel to Athletic Bilbao after the international break, while Atletico Madrid will hope to pick up their first home win since September 1 when they entertain Valencia in 13 days' time.

Diego Simeone was encouraged by the performance of Joao Felix in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win at Lokomotiv Moscow, convinced that will help him further his improvement.

Joao Felix joined Atletico for €126million in pre-season, coming in as the replacement for Antoine Griezmann after his move to Barcelona.

The 19-year-old attacker impressed in the close-season, particularly when getting a goal and two assists in the remarkable 7-3 friendly win over rivals Real Madrid in July.

He has had a slightly slower start to life in competitive action for Atletico, scoring twice and setting up one goal in seven LaLiga outings, but Simeone was impressed with his display in Moscow.

The Portugal international scored Atletico's first goal from close range after chasing up his own effort that rebounded back off the goalkeeper, before then playing a key role in their second – winning the ball back and picking out Diego Costa, who squared to Thomas Partey for the finish.

"It was the match in which he was most involved, possibly, in the rhythm of the game," Simeone told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Real Valladolid.

"For a player who likes to have the ball, participate in the game of his team, it [the performance] generates more enthusiasm.

"The other day this happened, he was active in the two goals of the team. That will lead him to continue growing.

"What I liked most was when he threw himself on the floor and retrieved a ball near the bench and showing that he understands what football is."

Simeone has been rotating his options in attack this season, opting to play all three of Joao Felix, Costa and Alvaro Morata on Tuesday.

And, according to the coach, that is advantage Joao Felix brings; he can feature either out wide or in a support role behind two main strikers.

"Due to his characteristics, he can play accompanied by a striker or with two striker references," Simeone said. "He has a great vision of the game and the team has more possibilities playing with two strikers and plus Joao, but the work balance of the rest of the team rises and will depend on the players.

"I think he can play in both versions. When he arrived I think he came with chances to play as a second striker. Now, when he participates most is with Costa and Morata, he has more vision to participate."

Joao Felix scored his first Champions League goal as Atletico Madrid kept pace with Juventus in Group D with a 2-0 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Portuguese forward converted a rebound from his own shot in the 48th minute to put the Spanish side on course for all three points after encountering stubborn resistance from their hosts in Russia.

Joao Felix – selected in an attacking XI that also included both Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata – was also involved in Atletico's second, scored by Thomas Partey.

Lokomotiv had played possum to perfection against Bayer Leverkusen last time out in Europe, enjoying just 22 per cent possession yet still managing to squeeze out a 2-1 win on the road.

They unsurprisingly opted to do the same again despite having home advantage against Atletico – and the policy paid off for the first half.

Atletico should have taken the lead in the 19th minute when Joao Felix's flick from a corner found an unmarked Costa, who somehow steered his left-footed volley over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

However, the deadlock was broken less than three minutes after the break, Joao Felix reacting quickly to capitalise on a second opportunity after goalkeeper Guilherme had saved his initial effort.

A second goal arrived 10 minutes later, Joao Felix's floated pass over a static defensive line allowing Costa to volley a pass across for the supporting Thomas to finish.

Jan Oblak produced a stunning save to keep out a crisp volley from Grzegorz Krychowiak as Atletico joined Juve, 3-0 winners at home against Bayer Leverkusen, on four points at the top of the table.

What does it mean? Atletico finally get into their stride

While this squad still feels like a work in progress after a stodgy start to their LaLiga campaign, Simeone will be pleased at how Atletico picked apart defensive opponents – as well as keeping another clean sheet.

Goals have been hard to come by in domestic action – they have managed seven in as many matches – but they have now scored four in Europe already, suggesting they could be set for another tilt at the trophy.

Price just right for Joao Felix

Utilised from the right flank but so often drifting inside, Joao Felix gave a demonstration of just why Atletico were willing to pay €126million to bring him in from Benfica. At 19 years and 325 days, he becomes the club's youngest scorer in the competition, a record previously held by Sergio Aguero.

How did Costa miss that?!?!

Costa remains stuck on one goal for the campaign following his shocking miss. It seemed nigh-on impossible to get the ball above the crossbar from close range, but somehow the former Chelsea striker managed it. At least it did not prove costly for his team, though.

What's next?

Prior to the international break, Atletico head to Real Valladolid on Sunday. Lokomotiv, meanwhile, are in action on the same day, as they host Arsenal Tula. Both teams return to Champions League action on October 22.

Atletico Madrid winger Joao Felix says he is relishing the chance to play in one of the biggest matches in world football against Real Madrid.

Joao Felix, 19, played in a pre-season friendly between the sides in New Jersey – which Atletico won 7-3.

However, Saturday's LaLiga clash at the Wanda Metropolitano will be the Portugal international's competitive Madrid derby debut.

"I am very excited to play this game, which is one of the most important in football," he told LaLiga.

"I have already played during the pre-season, but it wasn't official. Now, it will be. I want to enjoy the game to the fullest.

"The fans will be very important for us, as they have been in other games. And they will help you more than ever."

Another player making his debut in the fixture will be England defender Kieran Trippier, and he cannot wait to sample the "electric" Madrid derby atmosphere.

"I'm feeling very excited. It is going to be extra special against Real Madrid," said the 29-year-old.

"It's another derby I'm looking forward to playing in. I've played in some big derbies before in my career in England but I'm expecting this one to be electric.

"In the games I've played in so far this season at our stadium the fans have been incredible so against Real Madrid they are going to be even more vocal. So I'm expecting a lively atmosphere."

Atletico centre-back Jose Gimenez, 24, revealed the build up to the fixture is intense, and emphasised a clear message of victory at all costs.

"The previous week is different and you know this is not another match. You don't come to play, but to win. It doesn't matter the way," he added

"The only important thing is to win. That's been our mentality this week. We know there is not another game. It is one of the games of the season."

Atletico Madrid host LaLiga leaders and city rivals Real Madrid this weekend with Joao Felix still feeling his way in to life as their club-record signing.

Brought in as a direct replacement for Antoine Griezmann following the France forward's controversial switch to Barcelona, Joao Felix has shown flashes of the brilliance that persuaded Atleti to pay his €126million release clause to buy him from Benfica.

The teenager exploded onto the scene with 15 Primeira Liga goals last season, while he hit a superb hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The expectations on his shoulders at Atletico are a different story, however, with Joao Felix having two goals and an assist to show for his six LaLiga appearances at his new club.

With Zinedine Zidane's unpredictable Madrid visiting the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday and Atleti having not won a home LaLiga derby since 2015, Joao Felix will face the biggest test of his club career to date.


PARTNERSHIP WITH COSTA NEEDS WORK

On paper, Diego Costa looks like an ideal partner for Joao Felix, with his street smarts and aggressive nature aspects the teenager is undoubtedly lacking.

Costa's experience should be invaluable too, with the Brazil-born Spain international having fired Atletico to their most recent title in 2013-14 when he scored a career-best 27 league goals.

But the 30-year-old's form has been a concern for some time, dating back to his return from Premier League side Chelsea, and his opener in Tuesday's 2-0 victory at Real Mallorca was only the second competitive goal he has managed in 2019.

Data from Opta shows Joao Felix has only passed to Costa seven times during their 279 minutes on the pitch together in LaLiga this season, with the ball going in the other direction on just six occasions. Linking up effectively has been a challenge with Joao Felix typically drifting out to the right, where he combines with Koke.

Although Joao Felix also netted in the Mallorca win to send Atleti into the derby on a high note after they drew a blank in back-to-back league games, this must be an area of concern for Diego Simeone, who is without Alvaro Morata through suspension this weekend.

Costa and Joao Felix will surely develop their understanding in time and the duo were extremely effective when Atletico destroyed Madrid 7-3 during the International Champions Cup in pre-season, a game in which Costa scored four goals and was twice assisted by the Portuguese.

Only once have they combined for a goal in LaLiga this term, Costa setting up Joao Felix to spark Atleti's 3-2 comeback win at home to Eibar on September 1, and this needs to improve.


FITNESS ANOTHER POTENTIAL ISSUE

Adapting to a new league physically, as well as making the step up in class, was always going to be a challenge for Joao Felix.

His slight figure is in sharp contrast to the imposingly barrel-chested strike partner Costa, who can bounce defenders out of his way.

Although he produced a brilliant solo run from inside his own half to win a penalty against Getafe on his LaLiga debut, occasionally Joao Felix has been pushed off the ball too easily.

Perhaps this has led to frustrations for the teenager as he has committed seven fouls in his six LaLiga appearances to date, while he has been brought down on eight occasions.

The rough and tumble nature of some matches has also posed a problem. Joao Felix was taken off in the first half of a friendly against Numancia after taking a bang to his hip and some opposition players have seemingly targeted him.

Although Simeone has selected the Portugal international in all six of his LaLiga line-ups this term, while he also started against Juventus in the Champions League, he has been substituted five times.

Confidence is not an issue for Joao Felix, but he has fired more shots off target (six) than on target (five) in the top flight for Atleti, while he has lost possession at an average of 9.83 times per match. Indeed, he has completed 84 passes and 25 have gone astray, a far from impressive ratio, with just two chances created.

Time is on Joao Felix's side, however. At the same stage of the 2018-19 season, Griezmann's last for the Rojiblancos after winning the World Cup with France, he had only scored twice in LaLiga. Joao Felix has matched that tally already.

Diego Costa and Joao Felix were on target as 10-man Atletico Madrid returned to winning ways with a 2-0 LaLiga victory at Real Mallorca on Wednesday. 

Spain international Costa scored his first goal of the season with a powerful header midway through the first half before Joao Felix's deflected effort doubled Atleti’s advantage after the break.

It was a first victory in three league matches for Diego Simeone's side as they rediscovered some form in good time for Saturday’s derby at home to Real Madrid.

However, while two of Atleti’s front men thrived, Alvaro Morata is set to miss that clash with his former side following a red card for two bookings within eight minutes of his arrival from the bench.

Atletico could head into that match top of the table, though, having moved to the summit with this win ahead of Madrid facing Osasuna later on Wednesday.

Having followed up an impressive pre-season with a tough start to the 2019-20 campaign, Costa got his breakthrough and headed Atleti in front with a trademark 26th-minute effort.

Koke saw his initial corner cleared straight back to him and Mallorca were punished at the second time of asking as his cross was met with a bullet header from Costa.

Atletico were then halted by VAR when they appeared to have won a penalty after Joao Felix's bicycle kick struck Joan Sastre's arm inside the area, with the Portugal international himself deemed to have handled in the build-up.

Joao Felix got his goal in the 65th minute, though, turning sharply inside the area before seeing his effort take a wicked deflection off Ante Budimir and loop in off the left-hand post.

Less impressive was the impact of Morata, who departed swiftly after his 69th-minute introduction.

The forward clashed with Mallorca captain Xisco Campos off the ball and both men were booked, before Morata continued to take issue with his opponent and received a second yellow.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone suggested Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata could be set to start together in LaLiga for the first time.

Morata started the campaign alongside record signing Joao Felix when Costa was sidelined by an adductor injury.

After Morata succumbed to a knee problem, Simeone then opted to field Costa with Joao Felix in Atleti's attack.

With Morata fully fit and Atletico having failed to score in successive LaLiga games against Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo, Simeone could select the trio together for Wednesday's trip to Real Mallorca.

"As I always said, and I said it before in some other press conferences, when Alvaro and Diego are both strong and in shape it's very likely that they will play together," he told reporters.

"They have physical strength, increase our chances of scoring goals and open the possibility of other players coming in to play just behind them.

"Alvaro is back and Diego has played already a few times, we hope they can stay in good shape so they can play together.

"Alvaro has always been related with goals, he's a great reference in the area. [A lack of goals] wears down strikers a lot, so if Costa plays alongside him we will have opportunities to generate or attempt danger.

"And if it's Joao or [Angel] Correa playing behind them we will try to share the efforts during the 90 minutes tomorrow."

Costa has only scored once in competitive action this year but Simeone again backed the Brazil-born Spain international to recover the form that fired Atleti to LaLiga glory in 2013-14, when he hit 27 top-flight goals.

"It's true that not getting frequent chances to score is worrisome for a striker," Simeone said. "We work alongside Diego, listening to what he sees and feels and telling him what we think he has to improve.

"And as I said after the last game he has a great challenge to face individually, of course he helps the team a lot, but individually he has to rebel against a situation that's not usual for him."

The 2019-20 Champions League gets under way with the usual suspects among the favourites for the title: Barcelona, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and holders Liverpool.

Madrid face PSG in a blockbuster opening clash but the most interesting stories in the group stage could be bubbling under the surface, with Atalanta among the clubs making their competition debuts.

Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah could dominate but the stage is set for many others to make their names among Europe's elite.

Omnisport picks out 10 players who may have a huge impact on this season's Champions League.


MATTHIJS DE LIGT - JUVENTUS

Juventus may have preferred to slowly integrate De Ligt into their defence after he joined from Ajax. But a long-term injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini means the Netherlands centre-back has been pressed into action already. De Ligt has made a stumbling start in Turin but his leadership helped Ajax reach the semi-finals last season, knocking Juve out along the way. If they are to recapture the Champions League title, De Ligt is set for a key role at the back.


JOAO FELIX - ATLETICO MADRID

Antoine Griezmann's move to Barcelona left Atletico with a huge hole to fill in their attack, with the Rojiblancos breaking their club record to sign Joao Felix from Benfica. There is no doubting the 19-year-old's extreme talent but whether or not he is ready to lead Atleti to Champions League glory after some perilously near misses in recent years remains to be seen.


JADON SANCHO - BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Another teenager, England star Sancho is already one of the most dangerous forwards in world football. The 19-year-old has already contributed two goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this term, while he opened his international account with a brace against Kosovo last week. Perhaps most impressive about Sancho is his decision-making in the final third where he is clinical, especially on the break. Dortmund are in a tough Group F with Barcelona, Inter and Slavia Prague.


RODRI - MANCHESTER CITY

European success continues to elude City but the capture of Rodri from Atletico could help them finally go to the next level in the Champions League. Control has been an issue for Pep Guardiola's men in the knockout rounds but Spain midfielder Rodri, seen as a successor to Sergio Busquets internationally, should enable them to dominate possession more than ever.


PHILIPPE COUTINHO - BAYERN MUNICH

Having struggled to justify his move to Barcelona, Brazil playmaker Coutinho has been given a fresh start with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. His arrival ought to help address the loss of James Rodriguez after his two-year loan from Real Madrid ended. Bayern are looking for a first European crown since 2012-13 with Coutinho needing to step up.


ERLING HAALAND - SALZBURG

One of Europe's most in-form strikers, Haaland hit eight league goals in six games for Austrian champions Salzburg before the international break. The Leeds-born 19-year-old, son of former Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland, shot to fame when he scored nine goals in Norway's 12-0 win over Honduras at the Under-20 World Cup earlier this year.


LAUTARO MARTINEZ - INTER

Inter and Dortmund look likely to be scrapping for second spot in Group F, so Antonio Conte will want a big impact from Lautaro Martinez. The Argentina attacker should get more chances to impress after the departure of compatriot Mauro Icardi to PSG on loan and he showed he is in fine form by hitting a hat-trick in a friendly defeat of Mexico during the international break.


DANI OLMO - DINAMO ZAGREB

Having led Spain to glory at the European Under-21 Championship this year, Olmo was one of Europe's most in-demand players. Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham were all linked with the 21-year-old, who was retained by Dinamo instead. He offers a genuine threat in the final third, having scored eight league goals last term, and Dinamo have a real chance of qualifying from Group C behind likely winners Manchester City.


ALEJANDRO GOMEZ - ATALANTA

In the same group, along with Shakhtar Donetsk, are Champions League newcomers Atalanta, who thrilled in Serie A last term. Finally getting a chance to shine in the Champions League, Gomez may not get another opportunity to adorn this competition. One of the most consistent performers in Italy's top flight, the 31-year-old could help Atalanta become the tournament's surprise package.


MASON MOUNT - CHELSEA

A transfer ban has forced Europa League winners Chelsea to reassess their squad with new England international Mason Mount among those making the most of their chance under Blues head coach Frank Lampard. Three Premier League goals have helped the 20-year-old, who played under Lampard at Championship side Derby County on loan last season, settle in quickly. The Champions League is his next test.

LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid can capitalise on aging Barcelona and Real Madrid sides in the 2019-20 title race, according to Diego Forlan.

Heading into the first international break of the campaign, Atletico are the only LaLiga side with a 100 per cent record from three games.

Despite losing star striker Antoine Griezmann to defending champions Barca and captain Diego Godin to Inter on a free transfer, the Rojiblancos have looked strong under long-serving coach Diego Simeone.

The club-record €120million arrival of Joao Felix from Benfica has freshened Atletico's attack, with former striker Forlan backing them for a first league triumph since 2013-14.

"Yes. Well, we have to see," Forlan said, courtesy of LaLiga, when asked about his old team's title chances. 

"I know that Real Madrid and Barcelona have great players but so do Atletico Madrid. They signed really good players, Joao Felix as I said, and Diego Costa is an experienced player, great talent.

"They've renewed the team with some great young players. They did a great pre-season and now we need to see how they do in the league. But they look really good. What they showed in the pre-season was interesting, great games against great teams.

"The derby against Real Madrid, I know it was a friendly but it was also a derby and nobody likes to lose by that kind of score [7-3].

"They're going to be fighting [for the title], they always fight. The gap is getting a little closer now. And those players that made history for Real Madrid and Barcelona, they're getting older as well. That could be an advantage for Atletico Madrid.

"Having a new team and renewing the team every season. Real Madrid and Barcelona are doing it a little slower than Atletico but they're still in great shape. Great players with experience. We have to see, but I think Atletico Madrid are in a good position to fight for the title again."

Atleti return to action away to Real Sociedad on September 14, before welcoming Juventus to the Spanish capital four days later for the start of the Champions League group stage.

Europe's transfer window closed on Monday evening and the continent's top clubs avoided the temptation of breaking the bank for last-minute deals.

Most had their business all wrapped up comfortably before the deadline, while the widely floated return of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona sank in the Seine.

But it was a transfer window in which there was plenty of lavish spending, and it was a familiar crop of clubs doing the biggest deals.

Here is a look at the most expensive signings made by European clubs during the window - including two of the world's most talented youngsters.

Matthijs de Ligt - Ajax to Juventus

This Dutch prodigy was a huge hit in the Champions League and Eredivisie for Ajax last season, and the powerful centre-back captained the Amsterdam giants before he was inevitably courted by Europe's leading clubs. Juventus won the battle for his signature, with De Ligt, who was 19 at the time of the move, making a €75million leap to Serie A, signing a contract until 2024. He turned 20 in August.

Nicolas Pepe - Lille to Arsenal

Arsenal were often accused of over-cautious frugality during Arsene Wenger's reign as manager, but the club backed Unai Emery with a big-money move for Lille's exciting forward Nicolas Pepe, who arrived at Emirates Stadium in a £72m deal. He was brought in to give Arsenal a fearsome forward line, teaming up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United to Inter

Red Rom reached the end of the line at Manchester United, where it was becoming increasingly obvious he would not be a preferred pick of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But United got back almost all their money for the former Everton frontman when they sold him on to Inter for a fee understood to be €80m.

Lucas Hernandez - Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich

Bayern had this deal in the bag before last season ended, announcing the €80m signing way back in March. Hernandez arrived at the Allianz Arena from Atletico at the campaign's end, and after recovering from knee surgery the 23-year-old made his debut on the second weekend of the new Bundesliga season. Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic described Hernandez as "one of the best defenders in the world".

Harry Maguire - Leicester City to Manchester United

Jose Mourinho wanted him 12 months earlier, but Manchester United finally landed Maguire from Leicester City in an £80m deal, making him the world's most expensive defender. Maguire was a standout performer for England at the 2018 World Cup and has come a long way since his days at Sheffield United and Hull City, with a six-year contract at United showing the club see him as a cornerstone figure for the new Solskjaer era.

Eden Hazard - Chelsea to Real Madrid

Hazard had made no secret of his wish to join Real Madrid, and the Belgian's ambition was realised when Zinedine Zidane came calling during the close season. After seven years at Chelsea, Hazard moved to the Santiago Bernabeu for an initial fee of around €100m - with the possibility of more cash to follow in add-ons. Injury has prevented Hazard making an early impact in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid to Barcelona

A year on from winning the World Cup with France, Griezmann swapped Atletico Madrid for Barcelona in one of the most contentious moves of the European summer. Barcelona coughed up €120m  to release Griezmann from his contract, infuriating Atletico who claimed talks had been taking place behind their back, at a time when the player had a higher buy-out clause, and demanded a higher fee be paid. Once he - and the dust - settles at Camp Nou, Griezmann has what it takes to be a big hit.

Joao Felix - Benfica to Atletico Madrid

With Griezmann on his way, Atletico made sure they would have a top-class replacement by reinvesting in Benfica's star teenage forward Joao Felix. The 19-year-old cost the Rojiblancos €126m, immediately inherited Griezmann's number seven shirt, and his prodigious talent is already winning plenty of admirers in Spain.

Thomas Partey scored a last-minute winner as Atletico Madrid recovered from two goals down to maintain their perfect start to the LaLiga season with a 3-2 victory against Eibar.

The home side looked set to drop points in Sunday's match after conceding twice inside the opening 20 minutes of a home league game under Diego Simeone for the first time, with Charles and Anaitz Arbilla defying the form book at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Joao Felix scored his first LaLiga goal to start the comeback before the half-hour and Vitolo, introduced at the interval, dragged his side back onto level terms early in the second half against an Eibar side still without a win this season.

Los Rojiblancos carved out 1-0 victories over Getafe and Leganes in their initial matches and they showed true fighting spirit as Thomas poked home to lift Atletico above Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla to the top of LaLiga.

Charles converted Fabian Orellana's cross on the counter to give Eibar a seventh-minute lead and, after Diego Costa fired over the bar from close range, Arbilla doubled his side's tally with 19 minutes played.

The left-back's powerful shot took a deflection off Jose Gimenez and Jan Oblak was unable to react.

It did not take long for Simeone's men to respond, though, with Costa showing good strength in the box and returning the pass to Joao Felix for a simple finish into an empty net.

Atletico, who had a penalty appeal rejected before half-time when Joao Felix was seemingly clipped inside the box, brought on Vitolo for Marcos Llorente at the interval and that change proved inspired.

The lively Renan Lodi picked out Vitolo's run and the attacker poked the ball past Marko Dmitrovic to level matters seven minutes into the second half.

It looked like being a day of frustration for Atletico when Costa had two goals ruled out for offside, only for another substitute, Thomas, to pop up with a dramatic late winner.

What does it mean? Simeone needs to find right system after third narrow win

Simeone reverted to a four-man backline for this match, having operated with wing-backs in the 1-0 win at Leganes last weekend, but Atletico started slowly and were very nearly made to pay come full-time.

Last season's runners-up have been far from free-flowing in all three matches this term, winning each by a one-goal margin. They were bailed out here, though, and Simeone now has a two-week break to find the right system to get the most out of his stellar squad.

Joao Felix up and running

As well as showing incredible fighting spirit to claim all three points, another big positive for Atletico was the partnership between Costa and Joao Felix, with the latter's goal making him the youngest Portuguese player to score in LaLiga in the 21st century at 19 years and 296 days.

Llorente rightly sacrificed

The decision to bring on the more attack-minded Vitolo for Llorente at half-time gave Atleti some added impetus. Llorente attempted an underwhelming 10 passes in the opposition half during his 45 minutes on the field and lost possession four times. It was not the only inspired change made by Simeone, of course, as Thomas popped up with a late winner after coming on for Joao Felix.

Key Opta facts

- Atletico Madrid won a game they were trailing in by two goals for the first time since May 2009 in LaLiga, when they also prevailed 3-2 against Espanyol.
- Atleti have earned six LaLiga points thanks to Thomas Partey past six goals in the competition: two versus Deportivo La Coruna (November 2017), two against Athletic Bilbao (November 2018) now two at Eibar's expense.
- Vitolo has scored in back-to-back LaLiga games for the first time since November 2016 when playing for Sevilla.
- Charles scored the fastest goal by a visiting player at the Wanda Metropolitano in all competitions after his opener clocked in at six minutes and 41 seconds.

What's next?

Atletico travel to Real Sociedad in their first match back after the international break on September 14, while Eibar host Espanyol the following day.

Thomas Partey scored a last-minute winner as Atletico Madrid recovered from two goals down to maintain their perfect start to the LaLiga season with a 3-2 victory against Eibar.

The home side looked set to drop points in Sunday's match after conceding twice inside the opening 20 minutes of a home league game under Diego Simeone for the first time, with Charles and Anaitz Arbilla defying the form book at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Joao Felix scored his first LaLiga goal to start the comeback before the half-hour and Vitolo, introduced at the interval, dragged his side back onto level terms early in the second half against an Eibar side still without a win this season.

Los Rojiblancos carved out 1-0 victories over Getafe and Leganes in their initial matches and they showed true fighting spirit as Thomas poked home to lift Atletico above Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla to the top of LaLiga.

Joao Felix can become "one of the best", according to Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Atletico beat Leganes 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Vitolo, who was played in by €120million signing Joao Felix for the decisive strike.

Oblak heaped praise on the 19-year-old's performance while hailing the team's game management across a contest in which they survived 10 attempts on goal from Leganes.

"I knew he had great talent, great potential," Oblak said of his Portugal international team-mate.

"The club has made a lot of effort to bring him here and we all agree that they have brought a high-quality player and that he can become one of the best, for sure.

"At the moment he is playing very well and hopefully he continues like this, giving us joy.

"It was a complicated game. Any team will have problems here against Leganes.

"Vitolo came on and scored the winning goal but in general the whole team played in the best possible way. We have defended well, we have suffered.

"It is important to know how to suffer because you cannot dominate the whole game."

Diego Simeone echoed Oblak's comments about Leganes, against whom he fielded a back three rather than his usual four.

The approach paid off as Atleti ground out a second win in as many games.

Simeone told reporters: "We needed to win and tried to do so in different ways. We changed things around and we won.

"Leganes never allow you to relax - they're very strong at home."

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