Report: Arsenal eye Ligue 1 star to replace Alexis Sanchez as Manchester City close in
What's the story?
With Arsenal losing hope on retaining Alexis Sanchez, the club are now looking to sign a replacement before the transfer window slams shut on deadline day. According to football journalist Guillem Balague, the Gunners want to seal a move for AS Monaco star Thomas Lemar before Manchester City swoop in for Alexis.
According to Balague, City are set to sign Alexis for £55m (and £5m in add-ons). The Chilean forward has been angling for a move away from the Emirates all summer and may finally get his wish - but only if the London club seal Lemar's transfer.
In case you didn't know...
Alexis is in the final year of his contract and Wenger has insisted that the 29-year-old will stay at the club and see out his contract. He scored 30 goals for the club in all competitions last season and was the club's top goalscorer.
Lemar, on the other hand, has a contract with Monaco until 2020. But the club were not willing to sell the French midfielder after already losing Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Valere Germain this summer.
The heart of the matter
Currently valued at more than £21m, the Ligue 1 club will definitely ask for a lot more for Lemar. The 21-year-old had 9 goals and 10 assists in the league last season and has also been a target for Liverpool.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had tried to bring in Lemar back in the summer of 2015 when he was at French club Caen but the move fell through.
Alexis clearly wants a reunion with Pep Guardiola who managed him at Barcelona and had refused to sign a contract extension. His agents have made it clear that he has no interest in signing an extension and wants to leave the club at all costs.
Video: Thomas Lemar's free-kick against former club Caen
Lemar's versatility to play on the wing and in midfield would fit into Wenger's tactics perfectly - whether he plays a 3-4-2-1 or a 4-2-3-1 formation. With their best free-kick taker in Alexis leaving, Lemar would also be the ideal candidate to take set-pieces around the box.
With more goals required from the supporting cast of midfielders, Lemar would be ideal for Arsenal but whether Monaco will be willing to sell remains a doubt.
If Monaco do not sell, Arsenal may keep Alexis instead of strenghtening a direct rival without getting a replacement in.