Atlético Madrid: "Thomas Lemar hasn't lived up to expectations" Simeone admits
Diego Simeone refused to be drawn on whether Thomas Lemar will leave Atlético Madrid in this month's transfer window, but said the player has disappointed.
Atlético Madrid midfielder Thomas Lemar has fallen short of expectations at the club, Rojiblancos Diego Simeone told reporters this afternoon. The 24-year-old has struggled to find consistency in LaLiga and after a decent enough start, has dipped in and out of the side since joining on a €70million transfer from Monaco in July 2018.
Lemar linked to Arsenal
The France international has been heavily linked with a possible move to Arsenal this month, although a hamstring injury could complicate a move elswhere. Speaking ahead of Saturday's league meeting with Levante, Simeone did not say whether Lemar could be allowed to leave in the January window but did admit the player's performances have been a bit disappointing.
"Facts speak better than words. Lemar is an important player who hasn't been able to develop his game but who has characteristics that other players don't have," Simeone told a news conference. "Let's hope he returns to form 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."
Goals dry up for Atlético
Atleti have been linked with moves for striker such as Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcácer, having found it difficult to score enough goals this season. Simeone is open to transfers but is not prepared to discuss players who do not play for Atleti.
"Like every year, there is the possibility of players leaving or arriving in January," he said. "We've spoken to the club about this, about the situation that we have and when [the chances of signing players] happen, if they happen, we'll find out. What concerns me is what happens against Levante. Aside from the game we're playing, the club knows what we've been talking about and will work to bring the best to the club and the team."
When pressed on interest in Cavani, he added: "I don't talk about players who aren't in our squad."
Atlético seven points off the top of the table
Atlético go into the New Year fourth in LaLiga after 18 games, seven points behind leaders Barcelona.