Liverpool have reportedly pulled out of the race to sign AS Monaco star Thomas Lemar this summer. A number of Europe’s top clubs have identified the 22-year-old as a possible target following his performances for Monaco last season.
Lemar caught the eyes of some of Europe’s elites, including Liverpool and Arsenal, after bagging 14 goals and providing 17 assists, as Monaco won the French title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.
The Reds were heavily linked with a move for the midfielder last summer and he continues to be touted as a potential replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona last month. But according to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool are no longer interested in Lemar and have decided to turn to alternative targets as they start making plans for the summer.
It is understood that Jurgen Klopp has cooled his interest in the Frenchman due to the player being valued at around £90million by Monaco. The German manager believes that we can spend the cash elsewhere once the transfer window reopens in the summer. The news comes as a big surprise given that we were chasing the midfielder last year and in fact, last month too.
Lemar has been one of the sought-after young talents in Europe, capable of playing in the midfield and anywhere across the attack. It is a kind of a bolt from the blue to see Klopp cool his interest in the French international after many considered him as the ideal player to fill the void left by Coutinho.
As far as I am concerned, Lemar was one of the shining lights for Monaco last season, which was filled with glitz and glamour. While the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Valere Germain and Kylian Mbappe have all left the French club, Lemar along with Fabinho and Djibril Sidibe have stayed put at the club and have performed decently this season.
For all of the last campaign’s highs, Lemar has failed to live up to the billing this season, scoring only 3 goals and supplying 5 assists. Well if that’s the case for Liverpool to pull out of the race to sign the player, then it is totally unacceptable.
The Frenchman is undoubtedly talented – a nimble-footed midfielder with excellent vision and passing abilities being the cornerstones of his game. Although he is left-footed, he is equally strong on the right, capable of producing brilliant moments on the field.
Coutinho was a player equally adept at playing in the midfield and on the wings. The Brazilian offered a different flair in the attack when compared to the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. To play centrally, create spaces and open up opposing defences in a blink of an eye were the real attributes of Coutinho and since his departure, not a single player has produced that week in and week out.
Adam Lallana comes closer to the now Barcelona midfielder but the 29-year-old is too injury-prone and lacks consistency. While the likes of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all good midfielders, there isn’t a player in the middle of the park with defence-splitting abilities and a huge appetite for goals.
Lemar is exactly the player with all the aforementioned qualities. The Monaco man would have really been an upgrade on the current crop of Liverpool midfielders.
The Frenchman is an excellent player, one with a whole lot of quality and variation in his game. He is a lethal set-piece taker and is equally impressive in open play, with a sharp little burst of acceleration.
For all the dribbling abilities, shooting, creativity and guile, the 22-year-old isn’t still a finished product. He is supremely talented and would have evolved as a player under the watchful eyes of Klopp but it’s a big shame that the Liverpool manager seems to have different plans in the summer.