With Thomas Lemar unwilling to move to Arsenal, the London club in recent weeks has to all appearances moved on to Bordeaux’s talented 20-year-old Brazilian Malcom. He’s two years younger than Lemar, would cost less, and, like Lemar, is a potential world class talent.
He’s younger, though, and not nearly as far along in his development at his French counterpart. The talent is there, as is the upside, and he fills a similar role on the pitch, but he’s a bigger gamble to come good on it. And he appeared to be the Answer for Arsenal when Lemar turned them down.
Now, though, they could have competition—from Liverpool, again, no less—with Bordeaux manager Jocelyn Gourvennec telling reporters that he knows he will have a hard time keeping hold of his talented young attacker this month. But not because of Arsenal, because of Liverpool.
“If Liverpool want you to work for them tomorrow, you’d go,” he said when he spoke to journalists ahead ahead of a league game against Caen. “I’m a coach, I’d like to be able to count on Malcom [but] here is one person who decides in this, that’s the majority shareholder.”
On the surface it seems an odd comment given there has been no suggestion at any point—up until now at least—that Liverpool might be after Malcom. It also seems odd as Malcom, as talented as he is, probably isn’t ready to push his way into the starting eleven at Anfield.
Rather than a player like Lemar who would improve the best eleven, Malcom would arrive a talented squad player with a lot of upside, which isn’t the category of target most believe Liverpool are after right now—especially when it comes to potential Philippe Coutinho replacements.
It could be, then, that Gourvennec was simply speaking in general terms, throwing out the name of a club that a player would have a hard time turning down. It could also be that Liverpool’s name was deployed strategically in order to get Arsenal to improve whatever they might be offering.
Or, of course, it could be that Malcom will be a Liverpool player before the end of the month, though all things considered that remains an unlikely option—even after what Gourvennec said.