In the wake of Alexis Sanchez’s reluctance at continuing with Arsenal, the club has set their sights on Monaco sensation Thomas Lemar. Arsenal have been quite active in the transfer window so far, having already concluded the signings of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette from Schalke and Lyon respectively and look set to surpass their previous transfer record of £42.5m paid for Mesut Ozil in 2013, a second time this season.
AS Monaco are understandably reluctant to lose another star of their magnificent campaign last season and have rejected bids of £31m and £40m from the Emirates outfit already. Wenger is undeterred though and is set to return with an improved bid of £45m with add-ons.
Lemar is just coming off the back of a superlative season both personally and collectively, notching up 14 goals and 17 assists in all competitions and winning the Ligue 1 title in the process. The 21-year-old Frenchman also helped his club reach the Champions League semi-finals, only to be knocked out by Allegri’s Juventus.
Having lost the likes of Bernardo Silva and Valere Germain already, Monaco is bracing for the imminent departure of Tiemoue Bakayoko, subject to interest from Chelsea and Manchester United; and Kylian Mbappe, the French wonder-kid with Real Madrid intent on taking the player to Bernabeu.
They are in no mood to let Lemar leave for anything less than £80m. The price could prove to be a stumbling block as far as Arsenal are concerned, but Monaco’s hands could be forced into lowering their valuation if Lemar makes a formal transfer request.
Standing at 170cm, the Frenchman is not the tallest around but makes up for it through his superior ball retention skills and dribbling ability, coupled with excellent set-piece technique. Comfortable in any position in a front three, be it on the flanks, or playing down the middle, his versatility could come in handy for the North London outfit.
With Arsenal set to lose Alexis Sanchez, it would be prudent of Wenger to offload the Chilean to a club outside of the Premier League, to avoid a scenario akin to what happened after Robin Van Persie joined Manchester United, lending them an incredible title push.
With Sanchez’s contract set to expire in 2018, and the player touching 30, Wenger may not be willing to give into the Chilean’s demands of a hefty pay-rise to the tune of £400000 per week as is being reported. Arsenal would also like to avoid a scenario which would let the player leave as a free agent after running down his contract, set to expire next season.
The best move in Wenger’s quiver seems to be cashing in on Sanchez to pay for Lemar’s move from Monaco without strengthening any of the Premier League clubs. A bid from Bayern Munich or PSG at this point could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Gunners.
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