Liverpool in record-breaking €60million bid for Monaco play-maker
Liverpool have made an inquiry to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar for a club record fee of up to €60million (£55million), according to sources in France.
The move is not linked to the future of Philippe Coutinho with Liverpool having rejected three offers from Barcelona for the play-maker including a package of up to €125million (£115million).
It remains to be seen if Barcelona make a final offer before the window closes on Thursday with Coutinho, who submitted a transfer request, desperate to leave. Liverpool insist they will not sell no matter what is offered.
Lemar has long been wanted by Arsenal, also, and has recently been linked to Manchester United and it is understood that Liverpool’s inquiry was made earlier this summer and remains active.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said last week that a move for Lemar was “dead” for his club although that may be brinksmanship to try and see if Monaco will negotiate.
However it is believed that Monaco are not willing to sell the 21-year-old French international during this window having already seen Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva depart and fighting to keep Kylian Mbappe who was on the bench for them, again, on Sunday night for the league match against Marseille with a growing expectation that a deal is close to let him go to Paris Saint-Germain.
Senior sources at both Monaco and PSG last night denied claims that a deal had been agreed for Mbappe and that the 18-year-old was due to have a medical on Monday but it does appear that an agreement is inching closer if the demands of Financial Fair Play can be met.
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PSG need to sell a number of players this month to satisfy FFP, already, after signing Neymar for a world record fee of just under £200million. Monaco have fixed the fee for Mbappe at €180million (£166.4million) and, incredibly, it appears one possibility is for him to be loaned to PSG for a season with an agreement that the money would then be paid next year.
It still seems extraordinary that Monaco would agree to such a measure with one of their rivals but it has been discussed and they know Mbappe has set his heart on PSG.
With Lemar, who was in the team who faced Marseille, Monaco believe they can command an even greater fee than has been offered for him so far next summer as they regard him as a rising star of French football.
Lemar is a versatile player who can play anywhere across the frontline although usually on the left. But Lemar also, potentially, can play as a wing-back which is where another Premier League club, Chelsea, considered using him had they made a bid this summer.
Tottenham Hotspur have also discussed Lemar who only signed for Monaco in 2015 for just £3.5million from Caen where he started his career.
Monaco told bidders earlier in this window that they will only allow one of Bakayoko or Lemar, to leave now – and will try and resist selling Lemar, who finished last season with 12 goals and 14 assists for Monaco as they won the French league and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.