Premier League

Wenger Has Arsenal Forward Dilemma

 • by Football Whispers
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Arsenal are quietly confident of securing their one remaining summer transfer target and getting Thomas Lemar from Monaco in what could end up being a new club record deal in excess of £45million.

The 21-year-old is a classic Arsène Wenger player as, although labelled a winger, he can play anywhere along the front line and is able to pass and dribble at pace. If Lyon signing Alexandre Lacazette is the new Ian Wright, then Lemar is out of the Thierry Henry mould.

That the Arsenal manager is willing to sanction such a fee for a player so young, shows the Frenchman is no longer treating the club’s money as his own, while his new backroom team illustrates a willingness to shift the power-base behind the scenes.

But if Arsenal are successful in landing Lemar, it will leave Wenger and his transfer colleagues a job of trimming down a first-team squad that is already top heavy, approaching 40-strong.

While lower profile, but not insignificant players, such as Spanish striker Lucas Pérez will reluctantly be allowed to depart and Theo Walcott would probably go too if his wages weren’t so high, Arsenal supporters are more concerned by the futures of key attacking men such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Everton transfer target Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sánchez.

The club’s new contract negotiation unit, headed by Team Sky recruit Hass Fahmy, have made a generous offer to Liverpool transfer target Oxlade-Chamberlain, but are nowhere near agreeing a deal that will satisfy his representatives.

Unlike the Arsenal of old, however, it would seem they are happy to let the England international see out the remaining year of his contract in both a show of strength and an outside hope of securing a deal down the line.

Having offered Sánchez in excess of £300,000-a-week they want to do the same with him, but an act of brinkmanship there could end with a very late summer departure from the club for the Chilean.

Arsenal's transfer targets include Thomas Lemar of Monaco
Wenger is keen for both Giroud and Sánchez to stay, but it seems impossible he will be able to fulfil that double wish. Sánchez wants out and unsettled players, however good, do not fit in with the Wenger way even when he is financially strong. The damage was down there when Sanchez’s contract was not renewed earlier.Wenger is in a stronger position with fellow French countryman Giroud, who signed a new long-term deal in January and, unlike Sánchez, is on their pre-season trip to Australia and China.

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Some of the less well-informed transfer gossip that claims he is agitating for a move as he fears being an Arsenal substitute in this World Cup season is a bit wide of the mark.

Of course, Giroud wants to play, but he also wants to stay and being a squad man last season did not stop him from keeping Lacazette out of the France side.

Giroud has scored around 20 goals a season in his five years in north London – he is two shy of joining their century club – and hit 16 from only 17 starts last season including a Premier League high of six from the bench. That is why he has represented France in the last three major tournaments and is in their top ten all-time goalscorers list.

Giroud has told Wenger he will fight for his place, having fended off Lacazette for France so far despite being more of a fringe player last season.

But those statistics, his ability to lead the line and the player’s team ethic are also why Everton are desperate to add him to their exciting new look squad, so another late move cannot totally be ruled out.