With Arsenal still in the hunt for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, we could see the Frenchman move to the Premier League, despite the club’s insistence that he won’t be sold this summer.
The young star came up through the Caen academy, making his senior debut in the first game of the 2013/14 season. He then made the move to Monaco for just £3.5 million, where under coach Leonardo Jardim, he has played a variety of positions including central midfield and both flanks.
However, it was when Jardim switched to a 4-4-2 formation to accommodate both Kylian Mbappé and Radamel Falcao up front, as well as
Tiémoué Bakayoko and João Moutinho in the centre, where he has blossomed as a winger.
The 21-year-old made a total of 34 appearances for the Monegasques last season as they topped Paris Saint-Germain to become Ligue 1 champions, the club’s first league title in 17 years.
Lemar’s brilliant performances have not gone unnoticed at both club and international level. He has earned five caps for France so far and has sparked serious interest from Premier League outfit Arsenal, who have already had two bids for £30m and £40m turned down for the talented youngster.
The midfielder wracked up nine league goals and 10 assists for his team last season. He also scored twice and assisted four in the Monaco’s Champions League run, helping them reach the semi-finals where they were knocked out by Juventus.
One of his Champions League goals came in a Man of the Match performance against Borussia Dortmund in Monaco’s 3-1 second-leg victory over the German side.
Competition for places
Arsene Wenger is keen to sign Lemar and is not giving up the chase for the winger. Arsenal are willing to bid at least £50m to bring him to the Emirates.
Lemar is known for his driving runs down the wing, long-range strikes and good passing range. For instance, two of his nine goals came from outside the box, 84% of his passes found the target and he completed 45 take-ons.
If he does join the Gunners, however, he will be competing with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi for a spot in the Arsenal side, many of who have similar attributes to Lemar.
They have the ability and pace to take on their defender, they can cross the ball and have an eye for goal. Yet, the Frenchman has shown so far in his short but successful career, that he is a class above most if not all of those Arsenal stars, except for Alexis Sanchez.
A deadly front three
If Wenger can keep Sanchez at the club and he can lure Lemar to North London then he could have a deadly attacking force on his hands.
The Gunners have already signed Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon which, with Lemar and Sanchez, would make a lethal trio up top. A front three of Lemar on the left, Sanchez on the right and Lacazette through the middle would be perfect for Wenger who has recently started to play a 3-4-3 formation, similar to the shape that brought so much success to both Chelsea and Tottenham last season.
Up to Wenger to seal the deal
It is now up to both Arsenal as a club and Wenger as the manager to handle the Lemar and Sanchez situations.
For Arsenal fans, so far, so good, with Wenger sticking to his guns about keeping hold of Sanchez after many years of the Gunners selling off their best talents for financial gain.
The club also seem to have learnt their lesson from the Luis Suarez situation, whereby they missed out on the striker for bidding £40,000,001, which angered Liverpool who valued the player at at least £50m, leading to the Gunners missing out on the striker who eventually went to Barcelona instead.
Arsenal are now ready to make another serious bid for Lemar despite two rejections already.
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