Monaco’s vice president, Vadim Vasilyev, has confirmed they turned down a €100m bid from Arsenal for Thomas Lemar last summer and that it was ‘difficult’ to do so.

Monaco’s French midfielder Thomas Lemar celebrates. Picture: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Arsenal left it late to bid for the Frenchman after Manchester City waited until the last possible moment to finally bid for Alexis Sanchez.

With the club hoping to hold on to him, and City knowing that Alexis wanted to leave, Pep Guardiola ensured that, by bidding so late in the game, Arsenal would either have to sell without the time to find a replacement or be left with an unsettled player.

As it turned out, due to international friendlies being played on the final day of the transfer window, Arsenal were unable to get a deal through for Lemar and Alexis stayed at Arsenal, huffing his way through the first half of the season.

“Arsenal made a €100m bid. I felt that we could not afford to let a player so important leave on the last day of the [2017] summer transfer window… it was difficult to refuse their offer,” Vasilyev told RMC Sport.

“He is a top player. I am convinced that he will shine at World cup. And then, we shall discuss the price,” Monaco vice-president said.

This summer, Arsenal have a revised budget of £70m plus whatever they can get from player sales.

With Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arriving at the club in January and much more urgent areas of the team needing addressed, it’s impossible to see how Arsenal can get the funds together to go back for Lemar during this window. Nor where they would fit him into the side if they did.