Reports: Barcelona set to hijack Liverpool's move for €80m star
What’s the story?
Barcelona have tried and failed all summer to lure Liverpool superstar Philippe Coutinho to the Camp Nou. However, with the transfer deadline less than 36 hours away, the Blaugrana have decided to shun their interest in the Brazilian and instead go after the Reds' top target.
According to English daily Express, the Camp Nou outfit are prepared to hijack Liverpool's move for AS Monaco sensation Thomas Lemar - who had been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal early on in the transfer window.
In case you didn’t know…
Thomas Lemar was one of the key players for AS Monaco last season, as Leonardo Jardim's side usurped PSG to win Ligue 1, while also making it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
The Frenchman scored 14 goals, while assisting another 17 in 55 appearances for the Stade Louis II outfit and established himself as one of the best up and coming talents in all of Europe.
Arsenal have had a couple of bids rejected for the Frenchman by Monaco earlier in the transfer window, which forced Arsene Wenger to acknowledge that Ligue 1 outfit have shut the door on Lemar's departure.
Liverpool have also had a couple of bids rejected for Lemar in the last 48 hours, the second one of which is believed to be around €80m.
The heart of the matter
Lemar is one of the most coveted youngsters in all of Europe and it is his versatility which makes him stand out from the rest. The 21-year-old can be deployed as a left winger or a proper midfielder.
According to the report, Barcelona have got in touch with super agent Jorge Mendes, who maintains a close relationship with Monaco, to express their interest in the Frenchman. Talks are expected to be held soon between the two parties and the Camp Nou outfit have the money to blow any competition away for his services.
While Thomas Lemar is not a like for like replacement for Philippe Coutinho, a deal for the 21-year-old makes sense for Barcelona. The Frenchman can be the long term successor to Andres Iniesta - who is slowly but surely reaching the twilight of his career.
Not only that, it will also allow Barcelona to get one over Liverpool, who rejected a couple of bids from the Catalan giants for the services of Coutinho, as the Reds are actively pursuing the AS Monaco star.