Simeone ‘open’ to Tiago replacement

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone admits he is “open” to the idea of signing a Tiago Mendes replacement when the transfer market reopens in January.

The Spanish Press reported on Monday that Los Colchoneros were looking at Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan to fill the void left by the 34-year-old’s tibia fracture, which will keep him out for four months.

“Clearly it’s difficult to find another Tiago because a 34 he has the ability and experience that a 26 or 27-year-old doesn’t have,” he said at a Press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Copa del Rey last-32 match against Reus.

“I’m convinced he will return before the end of the season because we’re hopeful and we need him back.

“We’ll work with the lads available. There’s Koke, Saul [Niguez] and [Matias] Kranevitter, who is coming, and also Gabi and Thomas [Partey].

“I see more competition [in central midfield] than going forward. We’ll see who does the best for the team.

“When the [January market] comes, we’re always open to any scenario. This time is no exception, enhanced by Tiago’s absence.”

Tags Diego Simeone Jeremy Toulalan Reus Tiago Mendes