Liverpool set to hijack Arsenal target

Liverpool are leading the race to sign Monaco winger Thomas Lemar over the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea because of Philippe Coutinho’s £142 million move to Barcelona.

The Reds were interested in the France international last summer but were unwilling to go beyond the £70m mark – some £20m below Monaco’s valuation. Arsenal agreed a deal in principle to sign Lemar for around £90 m but pulled out due to uncertainty over Alexis Sanchez’s prospective move to Manchester City on deadline day.

The Gunners remain interested in signing Lemar but Liverpool have plenty of cash in the bank from Coutinho’s sale and can now topple Arsenal’s offer, according to the Mirror. Coutinho’s move to the Camp Nou is the second biggest transfer of all-time and, though Liverpool have already reinvested £75m on Virgil Van Dijk, the Dutchman’s move to Anfield was allocated from last summer’s budget and Jurgen Klopp still has around £100m to spend.

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim admitted earlier this week that Lemar could leave the club this month if a suitor matches their £90m valuation and Liverpool could trigger it in the next fortnight.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been keeping tabs on Lemar but the Frenchman respects Liverpool’s long-held interest in him.