By Karl Matchett.


Atletico Madrid have already completed two signings this month, bringing in midfielders Matias Kranevitter from River Plate and Augusto Fernandez from Celta Vigo to augment a squad which is already top of La Liga and challenging on three fronts this season.


While the former was already a done deal from the summer and simply had to wait to January to be completed, Augusto's capture was a direct response to the injury suffered by veteran Portuguese midfielder Tiago, out with a broken leg until March.


It seemed unlikely that Diego Simeone's side would venture out further into the transfer market this winter, but an impending FIFA-sanctioned transfer ban could force them to make their move now to set up next season's squad as well. As such, despite the overall strength of the squad and quality available to the manager, there are three key concerns to address which might necessitate further big decisions.


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First-choice striker


This was supposed to be wrapped up already-Jackson Martinez as a €30 million investment in the summer should have slotted straight into the team, made an impact and translated his goalscoring exploits in Portugal to the other side of Iberia. Instead, he has floundered and flopped, suffered with an injury from international duty and lost his place in the team.


With Luciano Vietto improving but not yet the finished article and the same going for Angel Correa-not an out-and-out striker anyway-Atleti could really do with a guaranteed source of goals to share the load with Antoine Griezmann. The French forward is a top-class talent, but his versatility means Simeone often opts to switch to 4-3-3 in-game and move Griezmann wide right-someone else then has to be able to make the runs through the middle to open the game up for Atleti and finish off their attacks.


Hard-working, clinical, powerful attackers don't exactly come cheap, so taking the hit and offloading Jackson first before buying might be Atleti's only option here-or else sticking with him and hoping he comes good.


Seeing Fernando Torres finally net his 100th club goal, after more than three months of waiting, would also be a start.


Left-back cover


Having seen Emiliano Insua and Cristian Ansaldi leave over the summer and Filipe Luis return from a year with Chelsea, the left-back area is "as you were" with Guilherme Siqueira the back-up. Siqueira, though, barely features under Simeone who clearly hasn't been overly impressed with his contribution to the team. It's likely he will leave, in winter or at the end of the season, with Jesus Gamez frequently filling in on both sides of the defence when Luis or Juanfran are unavailable or rotated.


The only other left-sided option for Atleti is youngster Lucas Hernandez, a talented defender but very raw and with little experience. For next season at least, the club must be looking to make an addition in this area, but with Filipe Luis the established starter and Simeone keen to keep a first-choice back four in place as often as possible, any new arrival knows their game time will initially be limited.


Whether a young player with the potential to progress, an experienced head to fill in for a year or two as and when required or going for broke and trying to upgrade Filipe Luis with a statement signing such as Jose Gaya, Atleti definitely need to give this area some attention.


Recalling loans


The final piece of the squad jigsaw could involve promoting one or two of their own talents.


Atletico have 11 players out on loan at present, from the "must sell ASAP" category including winger Alessio Cerci and goalkeeper Bono, to the "hugely promising" group for the future, with Colombian striker Santos Borre and midfielder Bernard Mensah included.


In terms of which might be able to contribute most of all next season, forward Borja Baston has impressed for Eibar this season and, at 23 years of age, might conceivably be given the chance to bulk up the squad. He won't be a starter, but all it might take is a run of games and goals to have an impact for a year or two. Josuha Guilavogui is a midfielder of huge talent, but the Wolfsburg man is likely to be sold for big money rather than integrated into the Atleti squad at this point, given the recent midfield additions.


Javi Manquillo and Emiliano Velazquez are defenders who could be brought back into the fold, but neither will challenge for a first-team spot immediately. Another loan is probable instead.


There's already plenty for Simeone to work with and the squad he has is capable of winning silverware, but one or two key additions could make all the difference in La Liga and the Champions League and Atleti need to make the hard choices, fast, before the transfer ban takes effect.