Arsenal have not ended their interest of AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar despite stalling on discussions with the Principality club, Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth claims.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has identified Lemar as his prime target to bolster the forward department, but the club have so far been unsuccessful in their quest to sign the attacker.
The French champions have already rebuffed two bids worth £30m and £40m for the 21-year-old, but Sheth reveals that the Gunners are still keen on the Frenchman, although they are not actively pursuing his services.
“Monaco’s stance has changed from their vice president saying he was not for sale two weeks ago, to their coach not guaranteeing he would be at the club come the end of the window," he said speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre h/t The Express.
“Perhaps we haven’t heard the last of Thomas Lemar to Arsenal in this transfer window. We are told today they are now not in active talks with Monaco over the player. But it should be noted they have not entirely ended their interest."
Meanwhile, Monaco recently sealed the signing of former Lyon winger Rachid Ghezzal on a five-year deal and Sheth believes that they could further loosen their stance on Lemar with Barcelona also said to hold an interest, he added: “Barcelona are also thought to be keen. Intriguingly Monaco have just signed Algerian winger Rachid Ghezzal on a five-year contract. Ghezzal was a free agent following his release from Lyon."
Barcelona’s interest in Lemar does not make for good reading for the Gunners’ faithful, but Wenger will still be optimistic of securing a deal after having opened up the initial interest in the former Caen man.
Lemar was initially being seen as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, but the Chilean looks set to stay put at the Emirates Stadium with Arsene Wenger repeatedly stressing that the attacker will honour the final year of his contract.
With Sanchez and Mesut Ozil staying, the forward department looks much secure than initially predicted, but Lemar’s abilities could be put to use, should Wenger revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation, or prefer to play him at left wing-back, which does not look like happening with Sead Kolasinac having put in a stellar performance in the Community Shield.