Monaco chief admits Thomas Lemar could join Arsenal next year after the winger came ‘really close’ to moving to the Emirates Stadium this summer.

Thomas Lemar came ‘really close’ to leaving Monaco for Arsenal this summer and it could well be something the club have to revisit next year, vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has admitted.

The French champions lost eight players during the summer window and Arsenal, along with Liverpool, were circling for the gifted winger.

But after protracted interest from both Premier League giants, a deal never came to fruition.

However, Vasilyev concedes that the Stade Louis II outfit could still stand to lose the France international next year if Arsene Wenger ramps up his interest — especially with the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil yet to be tied down.

‘Liverpool were really interested,’ Vasilyev told Sky Sports. ‘But it was Arsenal that was really close to finalising the deal.

‘It was quite close. At the same time it was just too late, not enough time to really follow up on this deal.

‘Not all the elements of the puzzle fell in place. I’m very happy he stayed with us. For us, we need a player like Thomas Lemar. He’s very important to our team.

‘Definitely next summer [it] will be something to look at, although you know in football there are no guarantees.

‘We had some players who were supposed to leave this summer but didn’t leave because of X, Y, Z. I think it would be fair to say Thomas will have a fair chance to an exit next year.

‘January? In football, never say never, but this is not what we’re thinking of, this is really not in our plans.

‘Then we have to wait and see how the team does in different competitions, if we have an interest in him and what his ambitions after the World Cup are. January doesn’t seem like the right time for major changes in the team.’


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