Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has admitted that winger Thomas Lemar has been unable to match the potential he showed before his move to the club.
Having burst onto the scene with 22 goals and 33 assists in 127 appearances for Monaco, Lemar became Atletico’s record signing in 2018 but has failed to impress in the Spanish capital.
The Frenchman has scored only three goals and laid on six others in 64 games for his current employers, with none of those goal contributions coming in the current campaign, despite 21 outings.
Recent reports from Spanish outlet Marca indicated that Atletico are prepared to cut their losses and sell up in January, what with Joao Felix overtaking Lemar as the club’s leading winger.
Arsenal are said to be keen on bringing him to North London and while Simeone did not comment on the potential sale of the World Cup winner, he admitted that Lemar is finding life hard 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,” the manager told a press conference.
“Let’s hope he has a good moment when he comes back from injury.
“Now, if Lemar can stay or not… we know that agents work in an exemplary way. Clubs work in terms of the needs of the clubs.
“But, as a footballer, every time he has been available, 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.”
The centre-back has become one of the Bundesliga side’s key figures in their quest for a first top flight title, with the club currently sitting top.
The Gunners were linked with a move for the Frenchman in the summer and Sky Germay report that Leipzig have again rebuffed an offer from the North London side.
In fact, the report adds that Arsenal have been informed not to submit further offers for the player.