Reports: Chelsea eye stunning £89m bid for French sensation in January
Antonio Conte is all set to start his spending spree
What's the story?
Arsenal and Liverpool target Thomas Lemar is all set to reject the Gunners and Merseysiders and then sign for Premier League rivals Chelsea, according to a report in British news outlet, The Evening Standard. The AS Monaco star hasn't reached the same heights as he did last season, but that has not affected his price all that much - with the Ligue 1 side open to accepting a €100 million bid. Antonio Conte is keen on the midfielder, who can operate on the wings and through the middle at a high level. Lemar will demand a high wage though, and the Blues are willing to meet it, while Arsenal and Liverpool will probably not.
In case you didn't know...
Lemar joined Caen's youth system in 2010 as a 15-year-old and made his appearance for the first team three years later. AS Monaco swooped to sign the winger for just €4 million in 2015 and thus stand to make a massive profit on the Frenchman in just 2-and-a-half seasons. However, it was the 2016/17 season where Lemar truly came to the fore, being involved in 31 goals in 55 appearances. Lemar has managed only 2 goals and 4 assists in 18 appearances so far, leading to Monaco being far more open to his sale this season.
The heart of the matter
AS Monaco are only 9 points behind PSG in the Ligue 1 title race, but the Monegasques feel this is the right time to cash in on Lemar. The Frenchman is keen on a move to London, having reportedly not agreed terms with Barcelona earlier. Arsenal are unwilling to make the Frenchman their best-paid player, despite the likely departure of Alexis Sanchez freeing up their wage book.
Chelsea are thus now in pole position to sign Lemar, with the Blues reportedly having conversations with the Frenchman's representatives. Antonio Conte now has the backing of the Chelsea board, and has made Lemar his #1 priority in January, as the Blues challenge on multiple fronts.
While Lemar's contribution for AS Monaco this season hasn't been as great, the midfielder's quality is still quite high - as his performances for France have shown. The 22-year-old can comfortably slot into any of Antonio Conte's tactical systems and will be keen on linking up with former teammate Tiemoue Bakayoko.