Martin Keown says that Arsenal left it too late to sign Thomas Lemar, but that the Gunners may not have seemed particularly attractive in the first place.
In his column in the Daily Mail, Keown said that Lemar is a “promising young player”, but that Arsenal don’t seem to be attracting the promising young players like they used to. He suggested another big club would have got the deal done, saying: “It seems Arsenal left it too late to sign Thomas Lemar on deadline day but you would think had Real Madrid or Barcelona made a similar move for him, it would have happened.
“Arsenal cannot pretend to be in the same league as those clubs but their poor start to the season would certainly not have helped in getting this deal over the line.
“It is easy for players to make excuses about Arsenal now. They are not in the Champions League and, from Lemar’s perspective, Arsenal looked like a club where everyone wanted to leave.”
The fact that so many players are currently reluctant to commit their futures to the club isn’t a good look for the Gunners. Negotiating fees with big clubs in Europe has always been a problem for Arsenal, but it seems now that convincing players to join is starting to become a problem as well.
There’s no Champions League football, which we’ve known all summer, but clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool have found ways around that in the past. The difference is that United and Liverpool weren’t losing big matches 4-0 right before deadline day.
If Arsenal want to prove a point about their ambition, whilst also picking up a top performing European talent, they’ll go back in for Lemar in January, and again in the summer if that doesn’t work.
The biggest clubs are persistent, like Liverpool with Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain, or Barcelona with Dembélé, or PSG with Mbappé.
Arsenal need to get themselves back in that bracket.