Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has endured a mountain of criticism for the club’s failure to sign Thomas Lemar this summer. According to officials at Monaco, he shouldn’t receive too much stick for the club’s transfer failure.
On Deadline Day the prevailing rumour claimed that Lemar was determined to snub Arsenal in favour of a move to Premier League rival Liverpool. According to Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev that wasn’t the case at all. He claims that Lemar was willing to sign with either Premier League club before he agreed to remain in France.
Per Vasilyev, Lemar was convinced to stay with Monaco because his departure would have been too devastating for the Ligue 1 club. Lemar had already seen a ton of talent leave the club prior to Deadline Day. Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko and, of course, Kylian Mbappe all secured big money moves away from the club this summer.
Evidently, Monaco believed that losing Lemar would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Specifically, he’ll be asked to carry the club’s attacking midfield after the departure of Silva and Mbappe. Their need to remain competitive this season cost both Liverpool and Arsenal the chance to sign him this summer.
In fairness, this news doesn’t really change anything for Arsenal at the moment. Lemar still isn’t coming to North London. The Gunners’ attack is still mired in a state of confusion due to the contract issues of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Adding Lemar would have given the club a bit more certainty moving forward.
What this does change, is how Arsenal might view the possibility of adding Lemar in the future. The club may even choose to go back in for the talented Frenchman in the January transfer window. Monaco’s position in the league and Champions League competition may change their stance on parting with Lemar during the winter window.
At the very least, news that Lemar was willing to sign with Arsenal this summer should take a tiny bit of pressure off Arsene Wenger for the time being. Perhaps Gunner fans should give him a little less stick; at least until he loses another Premier League match.