Thomas Lemar is all but officially up for sale today after Monaco’s manager admitted that with the amount of money in the market they would simply be unable to hold on to the talented 22-year-old French international if push came to shove and a significant bid—with €70M the rumoured asking price—came in.
“You know how crazy the market is,” manager Leonardo Jardim said today. “Things happen that even a club like Monaco cannot say no to. It happened to Liverpool. Things are as they are. The numbers today are incredibly big. Everything can change. The things I can say today are not true tomorrow.”
Earlier in the week, Jardim had come out strongly against the idea of selling Lemar. Each day since has seen his stance soften slightly until now when he’s admitted there is a price at which, even mid-season, Monaco would sell the creative young attacker who likes to take up space between wing and attacking midfield.
“In the last two transfer windows, last summer and this winter, the numbers have gone up enormously,” Jardim continued. “I still want to keep Lemar. If I stay here for 10 years I want Lemar to stay with me for 10 years—he is young, he can still play for 10 years, and he has a lot of qualities. I like him a lot.”
In the summer, Lemar blocked a last-minute Arsenal move because the player preferred Liverpool—and with Liverpool unwilling to meet Arsenal’s €90M bid, the window closed with the player still at Monaco. Now, the Gunners appear to have moved on to Malcom, admitting they can’t win the race to sign Lemar.
Monaco, too, appear to have since lowered their asking price to around what Liverpool were willing to pay on deadline day since, unlike at the end of August, if they sold Lemar now they would at least have time to reinvest the money. If Liverpool still want him, all signs point to a deal being possible this month.
It’s not confirmed they do still want him, of course, but given how serious their interest was in the summer—the club had a medical team on standby to fly to Paris for Lemar on deadline day—and The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce has suggested they might at least return for him in the summer, it seems likely.
Given Lemar is cup tied—as is Naby Keïta and Liverpool’s other rumoured big January target, Roma goalkeeper Alisson—it’s conceivable the club is intent on using January to lock down second in the league this season and then roll into a title challenge in 2017-18 with minimal summer turnover.