Atletico Madrid have been one of the shrewdest clubs in Europe when it comes to player transfers. They have shown considerable creativity in finding transfer targets and usually find bargain buys in the form of a young player or an undervalued performer.
Atletico Madrid's player transfers epitomise the genius of Diego Simeone in coaxing out a high level of performance from his players. Atletico Madrid's scouting team should also get their due credit as they have become proficient in plucking out hidden gems in every position of the field.
Some of the best players who have appeared in an Atletico Madrid jersey may not appear in this list but that is just because of the sheer volume of transfer success that the club has enjoyed this decade. So, without farther adieu, we bring you the five best players to have signed for Atletico Madrid during the last decade.
Five best players to have signed for Atletico Madrid in the last decade
Gabi, the youth prospect-turned captain, who would go on to lift the La Liga title for Atletico Madrid, was sold by the Rojiblancos to Real Zaragoza early in his career. He returned to his boyhood club at the start of this decade in a €3 million deal and would go on to become one of the most successful captains in Atletico Madrid's history.
Combative and gritty, Gabi thrived under Simeone's defensive approach and formed a significant partnership with Tiago in the middle of the park. Overall, the Spaniard made 413 appearances for Atletico Madrid in his time at his boyhood club.
Considering his services as well as his leadership abilities, Gabi deserves to be in list of the top five signings of the decade made by Atletico Madrid.
4: Jan Oblak
Signed for €16 million from SL Benfica, Jan Oblak has gone on to become a rock for Atletico Madrid during his six seasons at the club. Oblak, who was brought in to replace an outgoing Thibaut Courtois, could not have done a better job.
His authority and command in the Rojiblanco's defensive approach means that he is one of the toughest goalkeepers to beat in Europe as last season's Champions League winners Liverpool will testify. Oblak's consistency for Atletico Madrid has seen him lift three trophies, one of which was the UEFA Super Cup won against arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Oblak has an impressive record of 137 clean sheets in 252 appearances for Atletico Madrid and is one of the best shot-stoppers of his era.
3: Diego Costa
Diego Costa has rejoined Atletico Madrid twice after leaving them for Real Valladolid and Chelsea FC respectively. His second stint at the club after rejoining from Valladolid for around €2 million is why he makes it onto this list in third position.
Costa had always been aggressive in his approach, but it was his improvement in front of goal that was the most eye-catching and improved part of his game. His goal-scoring heroics would lead to Atletico Madrid's lone La Liga title under Diego Simeone in 2013-14 as he registered 27 goals in the competition that season.
He also reach the final of the Champions League for Atletico Madrid but was injured during the early moments of the match against Real Madrid. Diego Costa would be subsequently be bought by Chelsea for over €40 million that summer, which marked a huge profit for Atletico Madrid on their investment.
2: Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann may have been left 'disappointed' by Atletico Madrid after his transfer to Barcelona, but the duo were a perfect fit for each other. The diminutive Frenchman joined Atletico Madrid from Real Sociedad for a fee believed to be close to €30 million, which was also his buyout clause at the time.
Griezmann arrived as a winger but was methodically transformed into a striker under Simeone's tutelage. Griezmann plundered goals for fun during his time at the Vicente Calderon and later at the Wanda Metropolitano, where he scored 133 goals in 257 appearances.
Griezmann's departure to Barcelona for €120 million also meant Atletico Madrid quadrupled their initial investment on him. The Frenchman won three titles during his five-year stay at Atletico Madrid.
1: Diego Godin
The Uruguayan centre-back Diego Godin was an immense presence for Atletico Madrid at the back during his nine seasons at the club. A blood and thunder type of defender, he served Atletico Madrid with great vigour and made 389 appearances in all competitions.
Diego Godin also had a knack of creeping up with important goals. He scored the goal against Barcelona that led to Atletico Madrid being crowned La Liga champions in 2013-14. Considering he was signed for just €8 million from Villareal, his nine years of excellent service at Atletico Madrid means he ranks first on this list.
Godin finally ended his association with the club last summer before joining Inter Milan on a free transfer.
Honourable Mentions: Jose Gimenez, Radamel Falcao, Thibaut Courtois, Tiago