Thomas Lemar wanted to leave Monaco for the Premier League last summer but was prevented from doing so by the French champions because Arsenal and Liverpool bid far too late even though they made “very, very high” offers.
Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev confirmed he had rejected huge bids for the French international, who had told him he wanted to go to England, and also prevented the midfielder Fabinho from leaving for now.
Although Vasilyev would not confirm the precise figures it is understood that Arsenal offered €100million (£90m) for Lemar as they desperately sought a replacement for Alexis Sanchez after provisionally agreeing to sell him to Manchester City for £60m.
Monaco do appear prepared to sell the 21-year-old winger next summer but did not have to let him go after already commanding huge fees for Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko during the last window. Liverpool also bid for Lemar, offering up to €70m (£63m) for him but Arsenal were closer with their higher bid.
Vasilyev explained to Telegraph Sport why Lemar stayed. “These offers came late, very late, in the market so once you cannot replace a player they (the offers) become even more difficult to accept,” he said. “We plan and when it’s the last days it’s very difficult.” Asked if Arsenal had bid as much as €100m, Vasilyev said: