Despite claims from AS Monaco CEO Vadim Vasilyev that their talented 21-year-old midfielder Thomas Lemar is going nowhere, Arsenal will not be deterred in their pursuit of the youngster, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Les Monégasques are proving tough negotiators this summer, taking almost £100m from Manchester City for Bernardo Silva, 22, and more recently, Benjamin Mendy, 23.
Kylian Mbappe, 18, is wanted by Real Madrid with reports that the fee will reach an incredible £161m. The French international is set to complete his protracted move in the next week, leaving just Lemar’s future to be resolved.
The Gunners manager Arsène Wenger is a keen admirer of his compatriot. The Frenchman tried to sign the midfielder when Lemar left Caen two years ago; now he is keen on bringing the international to north London although the cost will be considerably more than then.
However, Monaco are trying hard to persuade the youngster to stay for one more season at least, and there are concerns in Highbury House that the club is being used as a pawn in Lemar’s contract negotiations.
If he and Mbappe do depart, the evisceration of a successful team will be complete. While it shows financial acumen, the spend on new players is nowhere near as expensive. Leonardo Jardim finds himself in a position where great faith is being shown in his ability to coax great players out of the good youth the club is bringing on board.