A report from ESPN has claimed Manchester United have been in contact with Thomas Lemar’s agent over a potential switch.
Lemar is an interesting player as he was one of Europe’s most coveted attackers when he signed for Atletico in 2018.
His spell in Spain has been poor and he is a player in need of a fresh start.
We looked at the numbers behind a potential move for Lemar and what it could all mean…
Lemar made his name at AS Monaco. His best season came in 2016/17 in which he scored 11 goals and provided 14 assists.
Even with a downturn in form the following year, two goals and eight assists, he earned a move to Atletico.
In Spain he has struggled. Last season he scored three goals and provided four assists.
This season it has got worse. He has no goals and no assists from 24 games which involve 11 starts.
Lemar’s fluctuating price tag
Inconsistent performances have led to wide ranging valuations, and with hindsight, Atletico got it wrong, even though it looked fair value at the time.
They paid 70 million Euros, which worked out at the time as £63.2 million.
This seemed cheap because Arsene Wenger confirmed Arsenal had made a £92 million bid (100m Euros) for Lemar in 2017 on deadline day, but ran out of time to conclude a move [The Guardian].
Lemar’s low-key 2017/18 season led to his price tag going down, while Arsenal’s change of manager that summer meant Wenger did not get a chance to revisit his interest as he had promised to do.
United would pay even less
Atletico paid £63 million for Lemar and he has not lived up to this price tag at all.
The Spanish side’s best bet is to loan Lemar and hope he will hit form, before selling him high in summer 2021.
Lemar earns a reported £110,000 per week, making him the club’s eighth best paid player. It isn’t an excessive amount, but they would want to get his wages off their books considering his poor performance.
Rumours about Lemar moving on from Atletico have circled for months, but this is the first time United have been linked.
Conspiracy theorists may note that Mauricio Pochettino had been keen on signing Lemar for Tottenham in 2017, but was ultimately priced out amid Monaco’s high demands [Football London].
Lemar is talented, and is only 24, but there is no way he would justify United spending £63 million on him.
For United to get fair value, an offer of half what Atletico paid would be fair considering it would be a serious gamble considering he has a double zero in the goals and assists column next to his name this year.
A report last month from Calciomercato linking him with Juventus priced Lemar at 50m Euros (£46m).
Transfermarkt rate his current value at just £27 million.
That’s quite a comedown from the sky high fees he was once associated with. But it is only really around this price where a move would make sense for United.
He should only be considered as one of many back-up options to Jadon Sancho at this point.
United’s coaches have a track record this season of improving players. Lemar would be quite a restoration project to take on.
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