With less than three weeks to go until the start of the winter transfer window, it is time to get the rumour mill up and running in earnest. On that note, both the Telegraph and French newspaper L'Equipe report Chelsea are ‘weighing-up a bid’ for Monaco attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar.
The 22-year-old, who can also play as a left winger or even, most crucially, as an attacking left wing-back has been in the sights of Arsenal and Liverpool since the summer, when both made offers but eventually failed to get their man. As per the Telegraph, the Blues are ready to offer £80 million to take the Frenchman out of Stade Louis II — with the possibility of offering players on loan to sweeten the deal.
One obvious advantage that could work in Chelsea’s favor is the presence of former technical director Michael Emenalo, who recently took over in the same role at Monaco. After last year’s title and subsequent sell-off (including the transfer of Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea), combined with PSG’s recent spending spree, Monaco are expected to undergo a major overhaul this summer, and cashing in on their remaining biggest assets would be part of that process.
Lemar had a breakout season in 2016-17, being highly influential in Monaco's Ligue 1 title and their Champions League campaign where they reached the semifinals. This season has not been as great for the youngster, but a lot of that has to do with the team no longer having the overall quality that they had last season.
That said, while Lemar is certainly a talented player, £80 million just seems way too much, even in this market, for someone who isn’t quite world class. Chelsea do however need help on the left flank, and some of our attacking midfielders are getting to the point where they need replacing, so perhaps Lemar is someone we should be making a strong play on — better and more versatile than, say, Ross Barkley, even if he would be homegrown.