Manchester United’s desire to bring Thomas Lemar has been put down to two significant factors, according to a report.
The versatile attacker, who plays mainly as a right-winger, is looking for a move after having a tough time of things in LaLiga since signing for Atletico Madrid for a fee of around €72million in 2018.
The France international was strongly linked with a move to both Arsenal and Liverpool before heading to the Wanda Metropolitano, but reports on Friday stated he was very much on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wanted list as Manchester United opened talks over a potential summer deal.
It seems United are keen to get some summer deals done early after being linked with the likes of Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho.
But the interest in Lemar appears to have come as something of a surprise, with the player likely to be sold by Atletico for the right price.
And although nothing materialised, Atletico boss Diego Simeone certainly suggested he would be happy to allow him to leave.
Speaking in January, Atleti boss Simeone said: “The facts speak for themselves, better than words. It is certain that he has not been able to show all his qualities.
“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.”
This season, he has started just nine La Liga games, and has failed to score or register an assist in any game in all competitions.
From 67 games in all competitions for Atletico, he has scored just three times and provided six assists; a poor return for the LaLiga side given he had scored 22 with 33 assists in 127 games for previous club Monaco.
Lemar wanted to take pressure off Daniel James
As per the report, United like the look of the World Cup winner for two reasons – the fact he is left footed and for his creativity.
United are crying out for more creativity going forwards and, in particular on the wings, where summer 2019 signing Daniel James has struggled after a promising start.
While Solskjaer very much plans to stand by the youngster, signed in a £15m deal from Swansea, the Wales star has perhaps played more than he was expected to do so.
The Wales winger scored three times in his first four games for the club, but has struggled since then – only netting his next goal in the club’s last match, a 5-0 win over LASK in the Europa League.
The signing of Lemar would take the pressure off his shoulders and allow him to develop into the quality attacking star Solskjaer believes he can become, but at his own pace.
Red Devils officials reportedly met with the French winger’s agents last week in an attempt to thrash out the early details of a deal.