Monaco Chief Rules out Thomas Lemar January Exit Amid Liverpool, Arsenal Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2018

Monaco's French midfielder Thomas Lemar (top) vies with Metz' Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima during the French L1 football match Monaco versus Metz on January 21, 2018 at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco.   / AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE        (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has dashed any hopes Liverpool and Arsenal may have held of completing a last-minute January deal for Thomas Lemar. 

The midfielder has been linked with both Premier League clubs in the summer after his fantastic 2016-17 for Monaco, and speculation continues to swirl about a potential exit.

A midseason move is not on the cards, though, with Vasilyev insisting any offers from the Reds or the Gunners would be batted away before Wednesday's transfer deadline.

"He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100 per cent," he told RMC (h/t Jacob Murtagh of Daily Mirror). "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. We will say no because the objectives are clear. Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed."

Monaco's Russian Vice club President Vadim Vasilyev arrives prior to the UEFA Champions League group G football match between Monaco and Leipzig at the Louis II stadium, in Monaco, on November 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHE        (Photo credit shou
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

According to Murtagh, both Liverpool and Arsenal have preserved an interest in the France international having failed to complete a deal for him in the summer window.

The 22-year-old is a huge talent and was a vital member of the Monaco side that impressed so many last season, as they surged to the Ligue 1 title and to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. 

Lemar's former coach Philippe Tranchant told football writer Tom Williams that Lemar has the class to play for any of European football's biggest clubs:

The youngster is on the right track, and while this season he's struggled to recapture the same highs as the previous term, his quality is still showcased frequently whenever he takes to the field for Monaco.

Lemar is accurate with his left foot, so he's able to provide tremendous deliveries from wide positions, thread delicate passes into small spaces and, when the situation demands, crack shots off at goal.

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 31: Thomas Lemar of France celebrates his goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between France and the Netherlands at Stade de France on August 31, 2017 in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Factor in his pace and versatility, Lemar can bring a lot to a midfield. According to Sky Sports, Arsenal were willing to part with a staggering £90 million to bring Lemar to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

According to Jonathan Northcroft of The Sunday Times, while Liverpool do have an interest in the young midfielder, they aren't dead set on pursuing a deal for him:

Staying at Monaco for the time being feels like the right decision for Lemar, as he still has raw facets of his game that he needs to improve.

The midfielder has been a little hit and miss when used centrally this season, whereas there are sometimes spells in matches when he hangs on the periphery of the game. Playing in familiar surroundings for the next few months will aid that natural development.

Monaco showed ahead of the current season they're willing to sell their best players for the right price, and it would be a surprise if interest in a star like Lemar was to fade away before the summer. If he goes to the FIFA World Cup and thrives, the Ligue 1 side will be able to put a massive price tag on him, too.

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