Atalanta rearms against Madrid: sign Kovalenko

After Gómez's goodbye, the Dea made the arrival of Viktor Kovalenko official today. Gasperini's set also works without the Argentine.


Atalanta continues to strengthen in this winter market. After having closed the arrival of Joakim Maehle, from Genk for 11 million euros, this Monday the Bergamo team made the signing of Viktor Kovalenko official. For the midfielder born in 1996, who ended his contract with Shakhtar in June, there was already an agreement for next season, but the unexpected goodbye from 'Papu' Gómez pushed La Dea to anticipate the operation, for which they paid 700,000 euros. The Ukrainian signed until 2025 and will represent an important alternative in a midfield that already has a lot of quality and now has one more replacement.

If Gasperini's team decided to give up Gómez, the most decisive player in his wonderful last years, it was because he realized that his project could work without him. What's more: aligning the Argentine was becoming a problem, on and off the field. Papu's 59 goals and 71 assists in 252 games did not weigh on Gasperini's decisions, who opted to sacrifice him in search of more balance. "He needed another type of team," said the coach, "we were suffering and he did not adapt" .

A rupture that moved from the grass to the locker room and to an already irrecoverable relationship, which led to the transfer to Sevilla. Without the captain, however, Atalanta has found its way again, regaining its strength without losing quality. Yesterday Lazio broke a 14-match winless streak in all competitions, with nine wins and five draws. The key man in this new phase was Pessina, substitute for Papu and a completely different player. The Italian helped the defensive phase with tactical rigor and great intensity, just what his coach wanted, and the results came. The Dea, who beat Liverpool this season, is fighting to re-qualify for the Champions League and made it to the semifinals of the Italian Cup (he will play next Wednesday with Naples), keeping his virtues intact.

In Gasperini's 3-4-2-1 work on the wings (Gosens is often unstoppable: he has already scored six goals) and the suffocating pressure on the rival, which led Guardiola to affirm that "playing Against Atalanta it's like going to the dentist: you always suffer. " Duván Zapata (11 points and 7 assists) is the center of the forward, although the strength of Muriel as a shooter from the bench is becoming a determining factor. The Colombian adds little more than half of the minutes of his compatriot, but has already scored 14 goals.

A machine that works well and that has been reinforced, then, but that does have some defect. The Italian team suffers from the double commitment and now, without Papu, it depends a lot on Ilicic. The Slovenian has shone again after his serious personal problems (he signed 4 goals and 7 assists), but when he goes out, the team suffers. Yesterday's game proves it.

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