Arsenal Reportedly Quoted £80M for Thomas Lemar, Riyad Mahrez Set as Back-Up

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2017

MONACO, MONACO - MAY 17: Thomas Lemar of Monaco during the French Ligue 1 match between AS Monaco and AS Saint-Etienne (ASSE) at Stade Louis II on May 17, 2017 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Arsenal have reportedly been quoted a fee of £80 million by AS Monaco to sign winger Thomas Lemar this summer, making it "increasingly unlikely" the Gunners will be able to snap up the Frenchman.  

According to John Cross in the Mirror, assuming Arsenal and Monaco can't reach some kind of compromise on Lemar, 21, Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez will be pursued as the back-up option. 

Cross added no official approach has been made by Arsenal for Mahrez, but the Algerian is known to be "keen on a switch to the Emirates [Stadium]."

Per Canal Football Club (via Ed Aarons in the Guardian), Arsenal were heavily linked with Mahrez, 26, last summer after his impressive 2015-16 season in which he netted 17 goals and provided 11 assists as the Foxes spectacularly won the Premier League title.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 18:  Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at The King Power Stadium on May 18, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Like Leicester as a whole, Mahrez endured a much less successful 2016-17 campaign in the English top flight, netting just six goals and providing three assists, per WhoScored.com.

He did play a key role, though, in Leicester's impressive march to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

If Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could return Mahrez to his best form on a consistent basis he may well be a fine signing.

It is little surprise Lemar is Arsenal's first-choice target, as he impressed in Monaco's Ligue 1-winning side last term.

The former Caen man netted nine league goals and provided 10 assists in 34 appearances, while also contributing to six goals in Monaco's run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, per WhoScored.

France international Lemar can operate on either flank but is most comfortable as a left-winger, so he could act as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez should the Chilean leave north London.

However, Monaco's demand of £80 million is clearly too big an ask for Arsenal, and Mahrez seems a more likely signing for the Premier League club.