Picture from The Mirror
With the season just days away, Arsenal seem to be closing in on the signing of Thomas Lemar from Monaco. The left winger has been a target for Arsenal all summer with bids of £30m and £35m already rejected by the French Champions. Monaco have sold many of their star players already this summer, but will another walk out the door?
THOMAS LEMAR – MIDFIELDER – MONACO – FRENCH
Thomas Lemar was a regular and a key cog in the exciting Monaco side that won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-finals. Lemar was signed by Monaco from Caen in 2015 and has held the left-midfield role ever since. He’s represented France at all ages despite being born in Guadeloupe. Arsenal are now chasing his signature, which could cost them a transfer fee of around £45m-£55m. Many experts seem to think the deal will happen, but if it does, how will it change the look of this Arsenal side and…
…where Will He Fit In?
This where I really want to focus my attention. In the past, this signing would have made complete sense for Arsenal, though there’s something that at the moment doesn’t quite add up. So, where will Wenger fit him in?
There’s two ways he could fit in here. Wenger looks like he wants to stick with the 3 at the back which brought Arsenal some late season success. However, a lot of it depends on whether Alexis Sanchez stays or goes. Wenger is adamant the Chilean will remain, but how could the line ups look either way?
In a 3-4-3 without Alexis, Lemar would simply slot into the space left behind. He’s got the skill, power and pace to cause defences problems in that inside forward role. He would complement Ozil well and give Arsenal a more direct route of attack. However, this position may take away one of Lemar’s greatest strengths – his crossing. Lemar provided plenty of goals from wide for Monaco, and in a front 3 he my find himself struggling to use the whip of his left foot to good enough effect.
This next idea is slightly more out-there. If Alexis is to stay, it’s hard to see where in a 3-4-3 Lemar could play as Lacazette, Alexis and Ozil are undroppable.
I think it’s fair to say Lemar could have an impact as a left wing-back. This is a role Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has adopted brilliantly and Lemar may do the same. Whilst Koscielny, Mustafi and Holding seem to be the 3 best defenders at the club, there’s no saying Kolasinac couldn’t slot into the back 3 himself as well and make way for Lemar out on the left – in areas where his crossing would be used greatly. Lemar has also proven to have great defensive discipline having played in a 4-4-2 all season – a formation that requires discipline to pull it off.
Lemar has played in a midfield 3 for France and showed a more box-to-box nature we haven’t seen so far at Monaco. His skill and work-rate makes him dangerous in the middle and he could compliment Xhaka and Ramsey brilliantly.
This would be the easiest and more natural way to bring him into the side. If Lemar plays out on the left of a midfield 5, he will keep his most natural position and Arsenal would move back into a formation they’ve used for many many years.
Would it be a good signing? 10/10
I believe Arsenal fans should be more excited by the potential of signing Lemar than they were of signing Lacazette. Lemar has bags of skill and suits Arsenal completely. With all that though, he has a power many Arsenal players lack and a real fighting nature. At 21, he can only get better. (Plus, he loves a goal against Spurs)
Chances of happening? 6/10
Monaco seem more reluctant to sell than ever, and it will take a big fee to convince the French side to sell. I think it’s more likely to happen than not, but it seems a little far away still.