Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone has confessed that winger Thomas Lemar has not managed to justify the hype around him when he joined the club in the summer of 2018.
The Frenchman was seen as one of the most exciting young wingers around when he sealed his €60m switch from Monaco, but he has managed just three goals and six assists in 64 appearances in Spain and is now expected to be made available for sale in January.
With Lemar‘s time with Atlético seemingly coming to an end, Simeone admitted to the media (via Marca) that the winger has plenty of potential but has simply not lived it up to it during his time in Spain.
“Facts speak better than words. Lemar is an important player who hasn’t been able to develop his game but who has characteristics that others don’t have,” Simeone said.
“Now if Lemar can stay or not… we know that agents work in an exemplary way. Clubs work in function for their needs.
“He’s played a lot more than he hasn’t played. His characteristics have always excited me. But he hasn’t been able to live up to expectations.”
Los Rojiblancos are understood to be keen to part ways with Lemar to finance a move for a new striker, with Arsenal one of several English sides who are thought to have been offered the chance to sign him.
Back in 2017, the Gunners launched a £92m bid to sign Lemar – which would have been a Premier League record – but they were knocked back as Monaco were reluctant to part ways with any more of their stars that summer.
Such a figure is certainly out of the question these days, but Arsenal scouts have clearly been impressed with Lemar in the past, so a cut-price deal could be a real possibility this January.
As for Atlético, it is thought that they want to raise money to find moves for Edinson Cavani or Paco Alcácer, and selling Lemar could be the easiest way to do that.