Arsenal are reportedly nearing an agreement with AS Monaco for the signing of Thomas Lemar and are making moves to resolve the long-term futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
According to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, the Gunners want to complete the deal for Lemar as early as next week having opened talks with Monaco. It's suggested the north London side are "growing increasingly confident of landing the France international."
Indeed, French football writer Matt Spiro relayed a report from L'Equipe that Arsenal have returned with a substantial second offer for him:
Matt Spiro @mattspiro
#Arsenal have submitted a second bid 'well over 30m euros' for #Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar (L'Equipe)2017-6-28 13:30:32
Mokbel also reported Arsenal are ready to offer Sanchez and Ozil increased salaries in any potential new contracts should they steer the club back into the UEFA Champions League.
Lemar would be an exciting addition for the north London giants. The young midfielder excelled for Monaco last term, helping the team take the Ligue 1 title and make an unexpected run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
The 21-year-old was typically stationed on the left side of a midfield four and was sensational in some of his linkup play with left-back Benjamin Mendy.
Lemar may not be the most physical of footballers, but his touch is tight, his dribbling is outstanding and his ability to drive into space with the ball puts defenders on the back foot. Squawka Football broke down the numbers behind his incredible year:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Thomas Lemar's Ligue 1 season by numbers: 400 final-third passes 72 chances created 50 take-ons completed 10 assists 9 goals Next stop: 🤔 https://t.co/5DMkF45jj72017-6-26 12:43:00
The youngster has all the qualities to go to the top of the game, and while he was used on the left last season, he's capable of doing a job on the right flank and even in the middle of the park.
He's the type of player who would add something refreshing to this Arsenal side. While they have players who can break the lines from wide positions in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, neither has done so consistently for the Gunners. Lemar would refresh this area of the field.
Per the Scouted Football Twitter feed, for a player so young he's already got a broad understanding of the game too:
Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl
.@BeltransMole23 Only Bernardo Silva (9) trumps Lemar's Ligue 1 assist tally of 8 this season too. So important to Jardim; such an intelligent player. https://t.co/Go4THlksku2017-5-14 19:23:20
Arsenal supporters would no doubt love to see Lemar arrive at the Emirates Stadium. But they'll be keen to see him link up with the likes of Sanchez and Ozil, not replace them.
According to Mokbel, the pair have turned down deals worth around £250,000-a-week already, as they each want to earn closer to £300,000 every week. Both players have just one season left to run on their current contracts, prompting speculation about potential moves away.
It's suggested Arsenal will give the pair a sum nearer the latter should they get back in Europe's elite club competition. Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose deal also expires in 2018, is said to have also been "offered a similar Champions League bonus."
Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent suggested the situation surrounding Sanchez and Ozil needs to be sorted out soon:
Jack Pitt-Brooke @JackPittBrooke
If Sanchez and Ozil don't sign soon, then obviously it's more likely they'll keep Oxlade/Giroud/Bellerin etc. But they need answers quickly.2017-6-22 19:36:24
For manager Arsene Wenger, it's important the squad is shaped early in pre-season, especially as the club prepares for UEFA Europa League football.
With that in mind, it's no surprise Arsenal are in a hurry to get a deal done. It would be a massive boost for the Gunners if Sanchez and Ozil were also brisk in resolving their own futures.