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Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has admitted Thomas Lemar could depart next summer, and he confirmed Arsenal came close to capturing the 21-year-old during the recent transfer window.

Vasilyev told Bryan Swanson of Sky Sports News the Gunners worked hard to take the attacking midfielder to the Emirates Stadium, but there was not enough time to complete the transfer:

Liverpool were really interested, 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.”

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 10:  Thomas Lemar of France in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between France and Belarus at Stade de France on October 10, 2017 in Paris, .  (Photo by Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images)

Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images

Vasilyev added there is a “fair chance” the youngster will depart at the end of the season, but Monaco do not want to lose the French ace in January.

The vice-president also denied his club will bid for Alexis Sanchez in January, stating the Chilean’s wages would be outside of Monaco’s capabilities.

Lemar is a rising talent in France, featuring 34 times in Ligue 1 last term, according to WhoScored.com—as Monaco won the league title. The player scored nine goals but also assisted on 10 occasions, underpinning his potential.

Per Jacob Steinberg of the Guardian, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted Mesut Ozil and Sanchez could depart the club in January, leaving a huge hole in the Gunners squad. 

Lemar would be a natural replacement for one of those players, but he does not have the experience required to be the club’s primary star.

Here is Lemar in action:

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