Atlético Madrid secured a new backup to Jan Oblak on Thursday, as the club announced Monaco goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte’s arrival on a loan deal.
Atlético further confirmed Ivo Grbić, who served as Oblak’s backup last year, is heading to reigning French champions Lille on loan for the rest of the season.
AS Monaco and Spanish champions, Atlético Madrid, have reached an agreement for the season-long loan of goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.— AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) August 19, 2021
We'd like to wish @Benj_Lecomte all the best for the 2021-2022 campaign . pic.twitter.com/dVEXOjq0Qt
Grbić asked to leave earlier this summer in order to gain more playing time. The 25-year-old made just one Copa del Rey appearance this past season — like others before him, Grbić found it’s not easy to dislodge Europe’s best goalkeeper.
So the Croatian will move (at least temporarily) to the reigning French champions, where he will definitely contend for minutes — Lille’s former first-choice keeper, Mike Maignan, completed a switch to AC Milan last month.
Ligue 1 veteran Lecomte signed for Monaco in 2019, and this will be his first stop outside the French league. The 30-year-old is no longer first-choice at Monaco, as coach Niko Kovač has turned over primary goalkeeping duties to Alexander Nübel (on loan from Bayern Munich).
Lecomte is coming off a good 2020/21 season, where he helped Monaco qualify for the Champions League’s preliminary rounds. Though his save percentage dipped to 61 percent in 2020/21, Lecomte kept a career-best 13 clean sheets from 28 appearances and conceded less than a goal per game. The Monégasques finished third behind Lille and Paris Saint-Germain.
Though he’s not expected to receive many minutes outside the Copa del Rey, Lecomte appears on paper to be a quality deputy for Oblak. Statistics show the Frenchman is a reliable passer and an occasionally-adventurous goalkeeper — he averaged nearly 1.5 defensive actions outside the 18-yard box last season.
Lecomte will wear the #1 shirt for Atlético.