The Thomas Lemar Story: Deja Vu? Behind the failure of Arsenal’s transfer policy

By Thomas Paisley @TomPaisley
Where have I heard this one before? Was it the Higuian story of 2013? Or Suarez of the same year? Sabastien Frey anyone?

Thomas Lemar has scored 14 goals for Monaco with last term.

What seems to become all too apparent is Arsenal being linked with players they have a desperate need for, and failing to wrap up the transfer early enough in the window. Taking this into consideration, you may fire back at me with a Lacazette shaped retort. I’d argue that he’s been angling for a move for a while & Lyon were all too happy to allow him to leave for the fee offered.

This brings us to the subject of bidding for a player for the value of their worth. Bidding for Thomas Lemar is slowly becoming a saga, one that seems to be slipping from our hopeful fingers. But why? Why should bidding for a 21 year old player on the back of a successful season be so trial some?

Who is he? (As if you haven’t watched this 12 times on repeat)
Current Team: Monaco
Positions: Attacking Midfielder (Left & Right)
Age: 21 years old (12–11–1995) | Height: 170cm
Record while at Monaco: Apps
89 | Goals 19 | Assists 22
His close dribbling and movement across the front line would make him a fit for Arsenal’s passing side.

Monaco have been firm in their stance to not let their major players leave after a tittle winning season. After the sale of Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, they SEEMED to ignore their own advice as links to members of their squad have been relentless all summer, with Mendy looking to join up with Silva at City & Chelsea securing Tiemoue Bakayoko this week.

So why the hold up with us and what is it that makes Arsenal so bad at negotiating out of tight spaces for players?

(I won’t even get into the Kylian Mbappe bids we all knew we had no intention of securing. If I have to read one more Wenger story of 3 hour meetings &’ could of been' signings…)

Thomas Lemar seems game for the move; from a media perspective, is being kept at Monaco against his will trying to force it to happen. Clearly it isn’t a question of money. Europe knows Arsenal are one of the most cash rich clubs on the continent. This deal is being slowed down by lack of planning and forethought from the Arsenal side. How were City able to secure their man so early? Silva was lined up as a his namesakes replacement early in the spring. They had a plan and acted on it early.

Yet again Arsenal’s backroom staff, while improving on previous shopping sprees, have waited on availability and polite undervalued enquiries rather than acting like the big European force that we were sold the dream of becoming when we moved into the Emirates.

The recent talk that we need to offload players is a smokescreen for this. Yes, we do need to shift on players but we’d have bought Lemar early if Monaco accepted the first low ball bid and shifted them later in the window regardless. Our priority should always have been to get our targets in early and worry about outgoings later in the window, letting other clubs clamber for our players for once.

Yet again we’re staring into August worrying about what will happen if Sanchez* (Insert Van Persie, Nasri & Fabregas of summer transfer windows past into that bracket) decides to leave. Yet again incompetence will leave us slightly short before the season has even started. Although this time it isn’t just to be in for the title race, it’s just to reclaim a spot into the increasingly competitive race for the top 4.

It’s impossible to look at the glaring problems our squad has had towards the end of last season and look across to the blue side of the Mersey and see how they’ve quietly gone about their business & spent every penny of their Lukaku money before they even knew where his future would lie. Whatever the outcome, you can’t question their ambition.

I don’t think we’ll keep Sanchez this summer. And I think we might struggle to get the Lemar deal done unless we’re ruthless & overpay just to land our man. Unfortunately I don’t think that will be the case, and we’ll be all the weaker for it.

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