Manchester United are reported to have held further talks over a deal to sign Thomas Lemar when the transfer window opens – but the player’s transfer fee remains a potential sticking point.
Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to fix a number of problems in his squad and reports earlier this month suggested that finding a new right-sided attacker is high on his list of priorities.
The versatile attacker, who plays mainly as a right-winger, is looking for a move after having a tough spell in the Spanish capital.
The France international was strongly linked with a move to both Arsenal and Liverpool before heading to Atletico for a fee of around €72million in 2018.
However, things have not worked out as planned for Lemar, who now wants a fresh opportunity to prove his worth elsewhere.
Tuesday’s edition of AS has now offered a fresh update on United’s interest and they claim the Red Devils have been sounded out once again as a potential destination for the France star.
And while United are considering the possibility of a swoop, AS reports that the huge €190m exit clause that exists in the 24-year-old’s contract remains hugely prohibitive.
Under no circumstances would United consider paying that amount and it’s reported they have told an intermediary that Atleti would have to seriously compromise on that price before a deal can take place.
And while there’s no suggestion the capital club would seen anywhere near that amount, United would need some clarification from Diego Simeone’s side about what would be considered a realistic fee for the World Cup winner.
As per the report, AS states Atletico could, however, make his exit easy because Lemar has not convinced Simeone and ‘hasn’t fulfilled his manager’s needs’ and is ‘no longer considered an essential player’ for the Spanish side.
The report adds that United believe Lemar’s creativity and pace would bolster their attacking options – having found goals hard to come by in the early stages of the season.
Lemar was again linked with Arsenal in the January transfer window, while north London rivals Tottenham were also credited with an interest.
And although nothing materialised, Atletico boss Simeone certainly suggested he would be happy to allow him to leave.
Speaking in January, Simeone said: “The facts speak for themselves, better than words. It is certain that he has not been able to show all his qualities,” said the 49-year-old.
“Each time that he has been available, I have tried to play him. I have always been enthusiastic about his qualities as a player.
“He has not met the expectations set for him, but we have always had the same expectations.
“Today, who is to know if he will stay or not. His representatives are working hard. The clubs, they operate on what they need.”