Vadim Vasilyev, Monaco’s vice-president, claims that Arsenal were ‘really close’ to finalising their deal for Thomas Lemar over the summer and there’s a ‘fair chance’ the 21-year-old could leave next year.
While Vasilyev claims that Monaco don’t particularly want to sell Lemar in January, he’s revealed that the Ligue 1 club will probably listen to offers next summer. The winger was apparently ‘really close’ to signing for Arsenal this year and Liverpool were also interested.
“Liverpool were really interested,” Vasilyev told Sky Sports News. “But it was Arsenal that was really close to finalising the deal.
“It was quite close. At the same time it was just too late, not enough time, to really follow up on this deal. Not all the elements of the puzzle fell in place. I’m very happy he stayed with us. For us, we need a player like Thomas Lemar. He’s very important to our team.
“Definitely next summer will be something to look at, although you know in football there are no guarantees. We had some players who were supposed to leave this summer but didn’t leave because of X, Y, Z. I think it would be fair to say Thomas will have a fair chance to an exit next year.
“January, in football, never say never, but this is not what we’re thinking of, this is really not in our plans.
“Then we have to wait and see, how the team does, in different competitions, if we have an interest in him, and also his ambitions after the World Cup. January doesn’t seem like the right time for major changes in the team.”
Arsenal’s pursuit of Lemar this summer was a bit of a roller coaster.
In July, just after the Gunners had signed Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, it looked as if they were ready to complete their second big signing of the window. In fact, at one stage, it was even reported that Arsenal had agreed a £90k-per-week deal with the 21-year-old.
However, interest dropped off with Arsene Wenger claiming that Monaco just weren’t willing to sell another one of their best players.
Right at the end of the window, Manchester City finally made an alleged bid of £60m for Alexis Sanchez. Arsenal took a chance and returned for Lemar. They apparently offered £92m but the France international turned down the chance to move.
Wenger has since confirmed that Arsenal will probably return for their man, with Alexis most likely leaving as soon as he gets the chance.
This time, it sounds as if the Gunners would be more successful in signing the talented forward.