Arsene Wenger has confirmed that AS Monaco star Thomas Lemar turned down the chance to join Arsenal this summer.
The Gunners were strongly linked with a move for the France international. Wenger’s first bid of £50 million was rejected by Monaco, but he responded with a lucrative £92 million offer. £17 Million out of that mammoth sum was to be paid as add-ons that depended on the player’s and the club’s fortunes in the 2017-18 season.
Wenger gave a very revealing interview to beIN Sports which also includes updates on Alexis Sanchez’s future at the club.
“Lemar chose to stay at Monaco,” he said. “You have to respect what happens on the negotiation side. I know we live in an era of transparency but at some stage, to respect everybody, you have to not talk too much about that.
“Look I cannot tell you everything that happened because after that when you decide to let a player of [Sanchez’s] calibre go, you need to replace him because nobody would understand that you let the player go and when you cannot do it, you keep the player and make a financial sacrifice because what you want, at the end of the day, is to have a team who has a good potential and top quality.
“That means two things: Alexis Sanchez will go, like Mesut Ozil, in the final year of his contract or you think during the season you will find a way to extend the contract or at the end of the season the players go for free.”
Sanchez is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates and there is a possibility that he might leave for free at the end of the season. Manchester City made an audacious £60 million bid for the Chilean towards the end of the transfer window. Lemar was meant to replace Sanchez if the latter left the club. But in the end, both deals fell through.
Wenger maintains that Sanchez will give his ‘100 %’ to the club regardless of the hysteria that surrounded him all summer.
“Your interest is always to perform,” Wenger added. “[The transfer] was not very close. It’s very difficult for me to speak about that because what I want the player to do is now focus on his career, on his season and on Arsenal football club.”
Arsenal will return to Premier League action on 9 September to play Bournemouth at the Emirates.