Monaco make the move that could trigger Thomas Lemar's big-money transfer to Liverpool
Monaco have completed the signing of Keita Balde from Lazio, which could trigger Thomas Lemar's much-discussed move to Liverpool.
Lemar has been the subject of intense transfer interest in recent weeks, with Arsenal and then Liverpool making moves to sign the attacking star who is reported to have a price tag in excess of £60m.
Now Monaco have signed Senegal forward Balde, who plays in a similar position to Lemar amid suggestions that the Frenchman has asked to leave Monaco.
Liverpool are reported to have had two bid rejected for Lemar in recent days, with the second of those offers from the Anfield club believed to have been lodged at around £55m, which would have been a club record deal.
While Monaco have made it clear that they are determined to hang on to Lemar in this transfer window, Liverpool remain hopeful that they can persuade Monaco to sell another star name in a summer when they have already lost a host of big-name talent.
Monaco have also sold Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea and may also sell their Brazilian star Fabinho, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Chelsea.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger stated last week that Monaco would not sell Lemar this summer for any price, but Liverpool appear to believe they can force through a deal ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline.
Liverpool's efforts to sign a high value attacking midfielder has naturally fuelled rumours that the Anfield club will consider selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
Yet Liverpool insiders have continued to insist their Brazilian No.10 is not available for sale at any price in this transfer window.