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Monaco expect Lemar to leave next year amid Arsenal, Liverpool interest

Monaco expect Lemar to leave next year amid Arsenal, Liverpool interest

Thomas Lemar attracted interest from Arsenal and Liverpool in the summer.

Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has told Sky Sports that there is a “fair chance” of Thomas Lemar leaving next summer amid interest from the Premier League.

Arsenal and Liverpool both looked to sign the France international in the summer, but a move failed to materialise towards the end of the transfer window.

Vasilyev said Lemar was keen on a move to England, but stressed that Monaco do not plan on listening to any offers in January.

“Liverpool were really interested,” he said. “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 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 also his ambitions after the World Cup. January doesn’t seem like the right time for major changes in the team.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Fabinho is another player who could be departing Monaco at the end of the season, with Vasilyev confirming there was “strong” interest from Manchester City and Manchester United in the summer.

“He’s one of the key players in our squad, a very regular player,” Vasilyev said. “He’s very important, we can always count on [him]. We are very happy that we managed to keep him. I think this is one player you want to keep forever.

“But we realise in Monaco we have a certain model, that at a certain moment when we feel it’s right we have to let players go in order to be successful again. This is not only about money; this is more about being successful.”

In terms of incomings, Vasilyev does not expect Monaco to make a move for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in January, suggesting his wage demands would be too high for the Ligue 1 outfit.

On Thursday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted it was a possibility that Sanchez could be sold in January, with the Chile international close to the end of his contract.

“He’s a fantastic player but probably his salary is too much for us,” Vasilyev said. “I didn’t check but I suspect it’s too much for us.”

Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.

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