Atleti boss comments on reported United and Arsenal interest in €12m forward

Atletico Madrid

Manchester United and Arsenal are reportedly interested in Atletico Madrid star Alessio Cerci.

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has responded to the rumours of Manchester United and Arsenal's interest in underused forward Alessio Cerci.

Los Colchoneros signed the Italian international from Serie A side Torino in the summer for a reported €12 million fee despite reported competition from the Gunners.

Cerci, however, wasn’t the only striker the La Liga champions decided to buy as a replacement for Diego Costa as Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Raul Jimenez also moved to the Spanish capital.

As a result, the wide forward – often compared to superstar Arjen Robben – has found first team opportunities slim so far this season, failing to make a single start in the league.

Last week Sky Sport Italia reported that Tottenham Hotspur were monitoring his situation and, according to the English press, they have been joined by their North London rivals Arsenal plus United.

Asked to comment on the speculation, Atleti boss Simeone played down the reports in his pre-match press conference and joked that his side are now a catch for Europe’s top teams.

“I read the papers and see that Manchester United, Arsenal and Inter all want Cerci,” he told Spanish newspaper AS. “We already sold Demichelis, without him playing and now Cerci, without playing, has three teams interested in his services. That must mean that Atleti are one hell of a team.”

While Simeone may joke, there remains doubts over Cerci’s future and he wouldn’t have envisaged a move to the Vicente Calderon only to be sat on the bench.

The 27-year-old offers pace and technical ability in abundance, and his links to United aren’t surprising given Louis van Gaal’s side’s shortage of quality in depth on their right flank.

With Spurs and the Gunners also said to be keeping tabs, a January transfer window scramble for his signature could be on the cards should he continue to be out of favour in Spain.

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