Atlético Madrid and AS Monaco reached a “preliminary agreement” for the transfer of Thomas Lemar earlier this week, and while that sounds like a line from a transfer rumor, it’s something that was actually confirmed by both clubs.
The preliminary in this case is that the clubs are still haggling over the final details of the transfer fee, which will be somewhere between €60m and €80m, in some combination of fees, bonuses, add-ons and so on and so forth. It’s a bit odd that a preliminary agreement was officially announced, but surely it just means that they are confident in finalizing it sooner rather than later, perhaps before Lemar’s France begin play at the World Cup on Saturday.
Chelsea were briefly linked as well, but while it’s not a huge surprise that we missed out — we couldn’t possibly sign every player we ever get linked with — the post-mortem includes this little nugget, as reported by GFFN: Chelsea missed out primarily because we do not have a settled head coaching situation.
Atletico Madrid appear to have beaten Chelsea & Real Madrid to the signing of Thomas Lemar; the Blues asked the player to wait until their new coach was confirmed - how it unfolded https://t.co/QbV4ftl2qS— Get French Football (@GFFN) June 13, 2018
Chelsea apparently asked Lemar to wait until we got our act together, but the 22-year-old “learned his lesson” from last summer when he waited around and saw many of his teammates leave only to then not be allowed to do so himself. So this time, impressed with Diego Simeone’s work at Atleti, he’s chosen to be proactive, something that Chelsea are in desperate need of doing so as well.
We often wonder how important any such factors may be in player transfers. After all, managers come and managers go with startling regularity and frequency, and not just at Chelsea. Surely the players know this all too well even at such a young age. The idea then is that when Chelsea do business, the main selling points are the club, the ambition, the trophies, and the salaries. But in Lemar’s case, the manager has proven to be an important factor as well, or the lack of one, to be more precise. And that’s rather unfortunate, especially if it’s causing us to miss out on top tier talent by trying to penny pinch elsewhere.