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Chelsea to Reportedly Join Arsenal, Liverpool in Thomas Lemar Pursuit

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

Monaco's French midfielder Thomas Lemar runs with the ball during the French L1 football match between Bordeaux and Monaco on October 28, 2017 at the Matmut Atlantique stadium in Bordeaux, southwestern France.  / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS TUCAT        (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)
NICOLAS TUCAT/Getty Images

Chelsea are reportedly set to join Arsenal and Liverpool in the hunt for Thomas Lemar in January.

According to L'Equipe's Damien Degorre (h/t Stuart Ballard of the Daily Express), the Gunners and the Reds will reignite their pursuit of the Monaco winger next month amid the uncertain futures of stars such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Philippe Coutinho.

They will be joined by Chelsea, who are said to have contacted the Ligue 1 outfit to discuss a move for the 22-year-old.

A number of Monaco's stars, including Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko, were cherry-picked by other clubs after the team won Ligue 1 last year, and French football writer Andrew Gibney expressed his belief in the summer it could cause Lemar to follow suit and leave:

🇫🇷 Andrew Gibney 🇫🇷 @Gibney_A

@charles_watts @TomMarshall_B Definitely think this could spark Lemar's stance to change. Fabinho too. Still 7 of that starting XI left.

He ultimately remained, but his side have fallen well short of the standard they set last year.

Monaco are nine points behind Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1a gap that's unlikely to close with the quality available to PSG this season after they brought in the likes of Neymar and Mbappe.

They also came fourth in their UEFA Champions League group behind Besiktas, FC Porto and RB Leipzig having reached the semi-finals of the competition last year.

Goal's Robin Bairner remarked on their struggles:

Robin Bairner @RBairner

I did say at the start of the group stage they'd not qualify, but I didn't think they'd be completely uncompetitive.

Given their troubles this year, it would not be too surprising if Lemar was open to moving on in January.

The France international had a superb campaign last season, racking up 14 goals and 17 assists in all competitions, and FourFourTwo has included him in its 100 best players in the world:

FourFourTwo ⚽️ @FourFourTwo

9⃣1⃣ ⚽️ Thomas Lemar 👕 Monaco (@AS_Monaco) 🇫🇷 France This was the year that Lemar became one of the most sought-after young footballers in Europe. #FFT100Best https://t.co/1RhTLrKTO4

He has been much less productive so far this season with a goal and three assists to his name in 15 appearances, but he's a superb prospect who could rediscover his form with a move.

Given he typically operates on the left wing, his arrival at Chelsea would require manager Antonio Conte to find a way of fitting both him and Eden Hazard into the side, though that may not be a big problem as the Belgian has often featured in a more central role in support of Alvaro Morata this year anyway.

Chelsea are 14 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race following their 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on Saturday.

There are perhaps no players the Blues can recruit in January to help them make up that deficit in half a season, but Lemar is an exciting player who could give them a healthy boost for the remainder of the campaign and make them more competitive next year.  

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