Atletico set to decide on transfer targets, Higuain and Filipe Luis linked

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says transfer planning for next season is about to start, as names including Napoli centre-forward Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea left-back Filipe Luis and Elche attacker Jonathas are linked.

Atletico need a point from their final La Liga game of 2014-15 at Granada on Saturday to ensure Champions League group stage football for a third successive campaign, and minds will then turn to strengthening a squad which is set to end the season without a major trophy for the first time since Simeone took charge in 2011.

The Calderon usually sees a number of players come and go each summer, and Atletico's sporting directors Jose Luis Caminero and Andrea Berti, and chief executive Miguel Gil Marin, are expected to be busy again this year. The futures of players including midfielder Mario Suarez and centre-forward Mario Mandzukic are also to be decided.

Asked about his expectations for comings and goings on the Al Primer Toque radio show, the Argentine coach said he had some strong ideas about changes he would like to make.

"Caminero will get together with Andrea and with Miguel and I will give them my ideas," Simeone said. "It is not so simple. I have been at the club three-and-a-half years. I adore my players, but am not committed to anyone, and we must look forward.

"That brings debate, some people might get angry... but decisions must be taken. I love the club, and want the best for the club."

Financially troubled Atletico have used third-party financing and external investors to sign big name players in the recent past, and Simeone said he had no trouble with such decisions, although he did not get personally involved.

"It is always better if people from outside can come in and collaborate," he said. "But the financial side is being managed very well. I focus more on the sporting end."

Atletico may well be in the market for a centre-forward as Mandzukic, last summer's big money signing from Bayern Munich, has fallen out of favour recently.

Mandzukic scored 20 goals over the first six months of the season, however the Croatia international however has not scored in any of his last 11 games in all competitions, as Fernando Torres has taken his starting place up front since arriving from AC Milan.

"[Mandzukic] is an unusual kid, with a strong character and a great heart," Simeone said. "Until February he scored 20 goals. He is angry with himself as unfortunately he is not managing it now.

"About his commitment, he scored 20 goals for us. Until the end of the season, on Saturday, we will look for what is best for the team."

Simeone was less keen to speak openly about potential targets, and claimed that Napoli centre-forward Higuain had not come up in conversations as yet. "We have not spoken as of today about [Higuain]," he insisted.

Simeone did praise Elche's top scorer Jonathas, likely to be a summer target for quite a few big clubs following a debut season in La Liga which has brought 14 goals and seven assists in a struggling team.

"[Jonathas] is a strong forward, he moves well, is tall," he said. "He has had a good season, a good player without any doubt. Also it is not easy to play in a team where it is not easy to score goals."

Paris Saint Germain's Edinson Cavani, often linked with Atletico in speculation through recent seasons, had never been a target, Simeone said.

"There is always talk [about Cavani]... there is never anything in it," he said.

On the return of Filipe Luis, who left Atletico for Chelsea last summer but has struggled to get into Jose Mourinho's first XI, Simeone suggested there might be an interest.

"Any of those players who have come through here and left a mark, you always see them differently," he said.