Monaco: Arsenal were close to finalising Lemar deal


Monaco accept that Thomas Lemar could leave the club at the end of the season having only just held onto the attacking midfielder during the summer.

Arsenal and Liverpool went head-to-head in the final days of the transfer window for the France international with the Gunners tabling a bid in the region of £90 million as they looked for a possible Alexis Sanchez replacement.

Looking to the future, Vadim Vasilyev, Monaco’s vice-president, confirmed that the in-demand 21-year-old could still leave the Stade Louis II.

“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.”

With clubs already eyeing the January transfer window, the Russian accepted that Monaco’s desire to keep the player could well be tested again.

“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.”

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