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Rumor Mongering: Are Liverpool Falling Behind In Race For Thomas Lemar?

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The usual suspects have muddied the waters.

France v Belarus - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

In the current frenzy of today’s transfer market, Liverpool Football Club and Jürgen Klopp have taken a bit of a contrarian approach in handling their business as though it were a marathon rather than a sprint. This has led to some consternation among supporters, but on the bright side, the odds of the club diving into a deadline day panic purchase of an Andy Carroll appear to be significantly reduced under present management.

It’s been thought that, flush with cash from the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, Liverpool might try to throw some financial muscle around either by moving for AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, with whom the club were previously strongly linked, or by trying to accelerate Naby Keïta’s pending summer arrival from RB Leipzig. The latter seems a remote possibility in light of recent comments from Keïta’s current employers, and now, a summer move for Lemar might not be a lock either.

The Mirror are reporting that the race for Lemar’s signature - previously thought to be a two horse affair between Liverpool and Arsenal - has a new leader in . . . drum roll, please . . . FC Barcelona. That’s right - according to the Mirror, after giving that credit card a good workout in acquiring Coutinho, Barcelona are planning to continue their rebuilding process with Lemar, and the player himself is said to have a preference for the La Liga giants over the two Premier League suitors.

If true, those reports would be somewhat surprising, given the strong indications that Barcelona are going to make a push to sign Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann before the World Cup, which is almost certainly going to be a significant financial commitment. Making a concurrent move for Lemar at the amounts currently being bandied about for the Monaco man would be ambitious, to say the least.

A more likely scenario that’s currently in circulation is the one where Griezmann makes the transition to Barcelona, and Atletico look to Lemar as an immediate replacement. That’s how Gianluca Di Marzio of SkySport Italy thinks the situation could play out. In that case, the outcome could come down to Lemar making a decision between trying to fill his compatriot’s shoes at Atletico, or joining Liverpool’s whirling dervishes of death in the front lines. However it plays out, it may be increasingly unlikely that Liverpool and Arsenal remain the only options throughout the summer.