HomeTeams - PLArsenalout on if Thomas Lemar stays at Monaco?

out on if Thomas Lemar stays at Monaco?

Reports this week had suggested Arsenal were closing in on AS Monaco starlet Thomas Lemar as their club record signing.

A deal worth around £30 million was said to have been offered by the Gunners as they looked to complete the deal by the end of the window.

Arsenal had lodged a bid for Lemar earlier in the summer, but the bid was rejected and the player’s stance at the club was labelled “non-negotiable” by Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev.

Whilst the deal is not an impossibility by any means – with the winger said to still be keen on working under Wenger –  it seems now The Gunners will have to work harder than expected to get their man.

So what would Arsene Wenger be missing out on if the French champions keep their man?  

Lemar has attracted interest from a host of top clubs following his 14 goals and 11 assists last season, helping AS Monaco to their eighth league title.

Much of these reports began to gather pace as pictures emerged on social media of the Arsenal manager and chief executive Ivan Gazidis in Nice in June.

Arsene Wenger’s interest in Thomas Lemar is said to long term, with the Gunners boss admiring the winger since his time at Caen.

Athletico Madrid attempted to bring Lemar to Spain last summer, but had a bid of £26 million rejected by AS Monaco; something Arsenal are fully aware of as they prepare negotiations this year.

What will make the deal even sweeter for the Gunners faithful is that Lemar is said to have rejected Tottenham earlier in the summer and would be dodging a move to Anfield in favour of a move to the Emirates.

But if the deal does go through Arsenal will see their attacking options strengthened greatly; alongside his goals and assists, Lemar created 74 chances and held an 83% passing accuracy during the 2016/17 season.

Per 90 minutes, the Frenchman also achieved more successful take ons (59%) than the likes of Sadio Mane (56%), Leroy Sane (56%) and Henrik Mkhitaryan (52%) last season.

Not to mention the fact that Lemar’s set piece ability will suit Arsenal down to the ground; the winger’s 32 key passes from set pieces combined with the Gunners’ 12 goals from dead ball scenarios last season seems a match made in heaven.

Whilst many may question his ability to adapt to the much more physical challenge of the Premier League, his two goals across two legs against Spurs in the Champions League this year suggests this will not be such an issue.

But what will worry some Arsenal fans is whether this approach for Lemar signals the end of Alexis Sanchez’s time at the club.

Both players are of a similar attacking style, and it is difficult to see how Arsene Wenger will incorporate both into his newly adopted 3-4-3 formation next season.

When comparing the two the Chilean comes out well on top in terms of goals scored (24) against the Frenchman (9), however they were level on assists (10) in their respective league campaigns last season.

Across the 90 minutes, Lemar created more chances (2.41) than Alexis (2.18) and also achieved a hugely superior defence score (2.75) over the Arsenal forward (0.75); an area of the game which is of huge importance when using the 3-4-3 system as a winger.

Of course, these figures are difficult to use as a judgment when deciding between the two players as whilst Lemar spent most of his time on the wing, Sanchez was deployed as a striker by Wenger last season.

But with Arsenal’s recent acquisition of Lacazette, it is thought that Alexis will be moved back on to the wing if he stays; hence why the clash between himself and Lemar would occur.

Adam Whyte
Adam Whytehttp://www.adamhwhyte.com
A sports journalism student currently studying at Southampton Solent University
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