Football: Monaco reject £31m Arsenal bid for Thomas Lemar

Monaco winger Thomas Lemar is in demand after a stellar season with the French champions.
Monaco winger Thomas Lemar is in demand after a stellar season with the French champions. PHOTO: AFP

(GUARDIAN) - Arsenal have had an offer of £31 million (S$55 million) turned down by Monaco for winger Thomas Lemar, with the French champions adamant they will not sell him.

Arsene Wenger is determined to reinvigorate Arsenal's attacking options as he struggles to retain his star player, Alexis Sanchez, who is wanted by Manchester City among other clubs, and he has targeted Lemar as one possible solution.

Lemar, who has long been coveted by Tottenham Hotspur, likes to play on the left flank - the position Sanchez has occupied most regularly at the Emirates Stadium.

The 21-year-old is quick and skilful, and he enjoyed a stunning season last term, when he helped Monaco to win the Ligue 1 title and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

He is understood to be keen on working under Wenger, who managed Monaco towards the start of his career and retains a tremendous reputation in French football.

But Monaco vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, who is fighting to keep a clutch of his stars, has told Arsenal they cannot have Lemar and that the stance is non-negotiable.

Whether the London club accept that remains to be seen.

Lemar, who has five international caps for France, moved to Monaco from Caen in 2015 and is under contract until 2020.

The club are happy to grant him new and improved terms.

Monaco have already sold attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva to Manchester City in a deal worth £43.6m, while their £40m-rated left-back Benjamin Mendy is also wanted by City.

Midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is also on the verge of joining Chelsea for around £40m.

Wenger has been keen to do his transfer business early this summer and he has secured Bosnian left-back Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke.

A £44m bid for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has been tabled but was rejected.