Simeone unmoved over Cerci speculation

The winger is reportedly interesting Manchester United, Arsenal and Inter, but his coach has laughed off the latest round of rumours

Diego Simeone has joked that Atletico Madrid must be a great side if three clubs are indeed interested in winger Alessio Cerci.

The 27-year-old joined the club from Torino over the summer but has made just three appearances for Atleti, prompting rumours the La Liga champions could be ready to cut their losses in January.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Inter are all reported suitors, with the player recently admitting he will consider his options in January after becoming unsettled as a result of a lack of playing time.

Simeone told reporters on Friday: “I read the papers and see that Manchester United, Arsenal and Inter all want Cerci. We already sold [Martin] 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.”

Asked whether he was annoyed by Cerci’s recent comments, the Argentine added: “Words don’t bother me. They’re not directed at the coach. I don’t train individuals, I coach the collective.”

One piece of good news for Simeone ahead of the weekend’s clash with Malaga has been the form of Raul Jimenez for Mexico during the international break. The striker is another member of the Atletico squad who has struggled for appearances this term, but could force his way back into the side.

“I never lost faith in him. I saw his two goals and told him that I’d seen them. I said before, Raúl is good. Him not playing is my decision. He’s looking good. But he doesn’t play as I decide, but he has all the attributes to play.”

Atletico sit in fourth spot ahead of Saturday’s game on 23 points, four behind leaders Real, while Malaga sit two places and two points adrift of their hosts this weekend.