Following Vadim Vasilyev’s revelation that Thomas Lemar has a ‘fair chance’ of leaving Monaco next summer, we take a look back at the story so far.
Although rumours that Arsenal were interested in the 21-year-old Monaco winger really kicked off in June, they do stem back to May.
This makes sense as this was around the time we really began to get the feeling that Alexis Sanchez wasn’t happy. It stands to reason that the Gunners would have started hunting for a replacement then.
Arsenal were said to be testing the waters with a £25m bid, which we all now know would have been far, FAR too low.
Despite the Gunners’ lack of Champions League football, Lemar was apparently keen to move to north London and work under Arsene Wenger.
The only fly in the ointment at this time was that Chelsea signed Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko. Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy also went Manchester City.
The Ligue club were therefore reluctant to allow another young, talented player walk out the door.
Arsenal had their first reported bid of £31m knocked back.
At this point, Wenger admitted that the club were ‘open’ to making more signings.
Talk in the press continued with outlets throwing around increasing amounts of money that Arsenal were reportedly willing to throw at Monaco to bring Lemar to north London. However, in August, Wenger revealed that the deal was ‘dead’.
Move for Lemar: "It is dead, Monaco have closed the door definitely." #AFC
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) August 24, 2017
Days later, however, Arsenal had a change of heart. Manchester City finally made a £60m bid for Alexis Sanchez so the Gunners returned to Monaco for the 28-year-old’s replacement: Lemar. They even had a £92m (!) bid accepted. But the 21-year-old didn’t want to move at that point.
Since Transfer Deadline Day, the boss revealed that Arsenal will be returning for the winger in the future.
Vadim Vasilyev, Monaco’s vice-president, said that Lemar wanted to sign for Arsenal or Liverpool but they had a ‘discussion’ and he didn’t go. Obviously.
The Daily Star then reported that the Frenchman and Gunners have a deal in place for Lemar to move to them in January. They also said he will be signing a five-year deal and earning £250k-per-week.
The latest is that Vasilyev has come out and said that while Monaco would rather they didn’t sell the 21-year-old in January, there’s a ‘fair chance’ he’ll move next summer. Apparently he was ‘really close’ to moving to Arsenal during the transfer window.
Will Wenger return for his man? I would say it’s looking likely.