Tuesday 24 October 2017

Arsene Wenger gives up on signing Kylian Mbappe and focuses on Thomas Lemar

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger has given up on a world-record deal for France and Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe and is now focused only on Thomas Lemar in negotiations with his former club.

Two Arsenal bids have been turned down for Lemar by Monaco, who did not want to lose any more players ahead of the season, but Wenger is not giving up hope on a deal that may pave the way for Alexis Sanchez to leave.

Wenger's reluctance to quickly sell Sanchez or indeed Olivier Giroud is down to uncertainty about whether he can get Lemar. The 21-year-old could play in Sanchez's usual position off the left.

Wenger sees club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette playing principally as his main central striker but is mindful of leaving himself short of options at the end of the summer given how Sanchez and Giroud are clearly so unsettled and may leave.

Like Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in the final year of their contracts but Wenger is confident both will stay and start the season regardless of whether they sign a new contract in the next month.

Sanchez yesterday made it clear he was not satisfied with Arsenal's Premier League position of fifth and consequently their failure to qualify for the Champions League. Arsenal's current stance is that Sanchez will not be sold - and certainly not to a Premier League rival like Manchester City and Chelsea - even if he goes into the last year of his contract.

They will also have noticed how Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho made an unprompted mention of Sanchez, even if he may simply have been happy to magnify the pressure that surrounds Wenger's decision. "The truth is that the decision doesn't depend on me," Sanchez told Radio Sport station.

"I have made my decision, but now we wait for a response from Arsenal. It depends on them, I have to wait to know what they want. My idea is to play and win the Champions League, it is a dream I have had since I was little." (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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