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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid, Arsenal keeping tabs on 19-year-old defensive midfielder



Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

It is no secret that Atletico Madrid are looking for a young defensive midfielder to strengthen their forces for the upcoming season. Boubacar Kamara is the name that has fans excited, but the club continue to explore other options that could be more economical.

According to reports from Hugo of L’Equipe, Atletico are now in race for Johann Lepenant, a deep midfielder who plays for SM Caen. However, Arsenal are said to be keeping tabs on the player, too.

Despite two European giants keeping an eye on the player, a third club is said to be leading the race — Olympique Lyonnais. They are best placed to complete Lepenant’s transfer come June.

The 19-year-old midfielder is a regular for Stephane Moulin’s side in the second division of the French League. He has started 33 games this season and has one assist to show in that duration.

The teenager has played in the heart of Caen’s 3-5-2 formation this season, effectively anchoring the whole team. More importantly, he has been tasked with intercepting any opposition counterattacks and has executed his duties flawlessly.

Lepenant averages 1.5 interceptions, three tackles, 0.5 clearances and six duels won per ninety minutes. There is little to no doubt that he would fit into Diego Simeone’s system seamlessly.

The player is on the final year of his contract with Caen and does not intend to renew. With the risk of losing him on a free transfer looming, the Ligue 2 side will be pushed to sell him for a lower price in the upcoming transfer window.

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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.

Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.

Llorente on Madrid derby

“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.

When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”

Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”

Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.

A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.

Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.

“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.

Marcos Llorente confident of Atletico Madrid’s chances ahead of the derby (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham

The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.

“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.

Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.

“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.

Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”

Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.

“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.

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