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AS Monaco president Vadim Vasilyev has warned interested clubs that forward Thomas Lemar will not leave the club on the cheap this summer amid persistent rumours linking the France international with Arsenal and Liverpool.
Vasilyev spoke with Telefoot on Sunday and was inevitably asked about Lemar’s future (h/t Mirror’s Ben Rebuck). While he didn’t rule out a sale, he made it clear it won’t be easy to land him: “Good luck to those who want him.”
Vasilyev was also asked whether a bid of £110 million would be enough, to which he replied Lemar will “cost a lot.”
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Per the report, the 22-year-old was the subject of transfer offers last summer, but while many of his team-mates left the club―including Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva―Vasilyev decided against selling Lemar.
The midfielder appears likely to leave this summer, however, as Monaco have endured a mediocre campaign, and the player has failed to continue his development.
Paris Saint-Germain have regained their status as the top dogs in Ligue 1 this season and hold a double-digit lead over last year’s champions in the standings. The loss of talent had a major impact on Monaco, and the players who stayed were unable to carry the load.
Lemar has scored just two league goals this year despite making 21 starts. As writer Ted Knutson shared, the former SM Caen man has flashed all of the talent he showed last year, but his end product has been lacking:
Ted Knutson @mixedknuts
Thomas Lemar, Monaco 17-18 and 16-17 on the midfielder plot. Very similar driver stats, but shot quality down this year, which has dropped his xG output. https://t.co/uE4QO4lhvu
The 22-year-old’s passing is as good as ever―he has recorded seven assists in Ligue 1 despite playing without star forward Mbappe―and his performances for the national team have been solid, indicating the lack of production is a result of the lesser talent surrounding him.
He has also reminded scouts of his tremendous untapped potential with flashes of brilliance like this:
It’s why Monaco will feel confident holding out for a massive transfer fee despite Lemar’s poor form in the 2017-18 season.
Lemar’s versatility―he can play as a winger or an attacking midfielder―would make him an ideal fit for Liverpool, who like to rotate their attackers and have them pop up all over the pitch. The Reds will go into the summer transfer window with a good chunk of the cash they made from Philippe Coutinho’s £142 million sale in January, and they will undoubtedly target a replacement.
Arsenal need to find a way to fit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexandre Lacazette into the same team and may be a little more cautious going after attacking reinforcements this summer. The Gunners wouldn’t hesitate to sign Lemar if the deal makes sense for them, however, and could sell Lacazette in that case.
The former Olympique Lyonnais man may not have a major role to play next season, with Aubameyang seemingly set to be manager Arsene Wenger’s go-to man up top in major competitions.