Arsenal want Thomas Lemar to replace Alexis Sanchez this month - as Monaco eye £90million January pay day

By Mirror: Wednesday, January 10th 2018 at 12:49 GMT +3 | Football
[PHOTO: COURTESY]

Arsenal have once more made Thomas Lemar their No.1 transfer target if Alexis Sanchez departs for Manchester City.

City boss Pep Guardiola wants to sign Sanchez this month - and the Blues have already sounded out Arsenal about a potential deal.

[PHOTO: COURTESY]

Arsene Wenger has previously stated that the Gunners wanted to keep the Chilean, but are now willing to cash in for around £30million, on a player who can walk away for nothing on July 1.

The increasingly likely event of Sanchez heading to the Etihad before January ends means Arsenal will step up their pursuit of a replacement - and French international Lemar is once more the man they want.

The left-sided 22-year-old starred for Monaco during their Ligue 1 triumph and Champions League run last term.

Monaco have previously been clear that they would not sell the France international in January, with sources telling Mirror Sport last week that he categorically wasn’t for sale this month.

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But with Lemar being linked with a potential big-money transfer to the Premier League and a potential tug-of-war between the Gunners and Liverpool - flush with Philippe Coutinho money after his defection to Barcelona - it’s been suggested that their initial stance could change.

And the club’s manager, Leonardo Jardim, has seemingly opened the door on a potential exit, stating that why they aren't usually open, this month could be an exception.

"We do not typically sell players in the winter transfer window," Jardim said. "But the month is long and many things could happen.”

The French champions are under no pressure to cash in however, given their backing by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and the £300million-plus made last summer on player sales, including Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappe.

Thus, much will depend on whether they receive their valuation for Lemar. That figure is likely to be around the £92million offered by Arsenal on transfer deadline day last summer, a figure then accepted by Monaco.

That move broke down when Lemar decided to stay put, also seeing Arsenal pull out of a £60million deal that would have seen Sanchez join Manchester City.

Also the player's willingness to depart the Stade Louis II, mid-season in a World Cup year, will also prove a pivotal factor in any potential deal, while Liverpool have a long-standing interest in the Frenchman.

They made two offers for Lemar in the summer, but didn’t exceed the £75million mark - a figure that became their transfer record earlier this month, when signing Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

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