In Brief

Arsenal still keen on Lemar, as Liverpool join the hunt

The Gunners have made little progress, but Wenger remains 'confident' of signing the Monaco winger

Liverpool and Arsenal are still tailing Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, reports the Daily Express, despite the fact the French champions issued a stern "hands-off" warning last week.

The paper says that the Gunners remain "confident" of beating the Reds to the hand of the 21-year-old despite having made precious little progress with their attempts to sign him so far this summer.

Liverpool's arrival on the scene comes after speculation that Philippe Coutinho could make a move to Barcelona this month. But Arsene Wenger still believes he is in the driving seat with the Express saying that the Arsenal manager "is hopeful of securing his signature and reaching a compromise with Monaco over a transfer fee".

Meanwhile the Express also has some news on the future of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was in fine form for Arsenal in the weekend's Emirates Cup but who is no means certain to see out the final year of his contract.

According to the paper Chelsea boss Antonio Conte "believes he can turn Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into a top class wing-back" and to prove his point he's ready to make Arsenal a £25m offer for the Ox. 

Apparently Conte is on the verge of calling off the chase for Juventus star Alex Sandro and instead will make Oxlade-Chamberlain his priority this month. 

If the Ox may be heading for the exit, Wenger is finding it harder to offload some of his other players, reports the Daily Mail. The paper says the Nutty Professor's "attempted squad clear-out has been delayed by players unwilling to take pay-cuts to leave". Among those refusing to countenance a drop in wages are Jack Wilshere, David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy. 

Saying that the Gunners are "desperate to free up cash on their wage bill", the Mail says that as a result of their players' stance they are likely to lower their price for those they want to move on.

And the Mail also says that one player Wenger is looking to bring in this month is Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri. Lemar remains top of the Frenchman's summer shopping list but apparently Ivory Coast ace Seri is also on Wenger's radar and an offer is likely to be tabled at some point in August.

Arsenal transfer news: Wenger sets his sights on Jean-Michael Seri 

27 July 

All the recent talk about Arsenal and Ligue 1 stars has centred on Monaco ace Thomas Lemar but The Sun throws a new name into the hat with its claim that Arsene Wenger is "in pole position to beat Tottenham to £35m-rated Nice star Jean-Michael Seri".

The midfielder was a standout performer for the French outfit last season, helping them qualify for the Champions League with seven goals and nine assists.

Now the tabloid, taking its lead from French sports daily L'Equipe, says that the Gunners "are lining up a £35m bid for the Ivorian". 

Apparently Swansea have had a £15m bid for Seri rejected, and Spurs have also expressed an interest, but Wenger has strong contacts with Nice and Arsenal’s French boss is quietly confident he can lure Seri to the Emirates. 

Perhaps the reason Arsenal are zeroing in on Seri is because their chances of landing Lemar are disappearing into the distance.

Metro reports the comments of Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev, who has issued a strongly worded statement on the future of Lemar and midfielder Fabinho, who in recent weeks has been linked with both Manchester United and Arsenal. 

"We have kept all of the key players that we intended to keep," said Vasilyev of a club that has already sold Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko this summer. 

“Fabinho is a must-have player in midfield who was being courted by all the major clubs. I will also address speculation about Lemar: he is staying with us. We have discussed this." 

And according to Talksport, Arsenal can also forget about signing Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal this summer.

The midfielder has been watched by scouts from the Emirates club and Chelsea but to no avail, say German media, who claim that Bayern "will not be selling Vidal under any circumstances during the current transfer window". Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti has held talks with the 30-year-old and told him that "he is a key part of his plans". 

There may be better news on the Moussa Dembele front, however, with the Daily Star claiming that the Celtic player, who has been linked with a move to Marseille this summer, in fact wants to play in the Premier League.

Chelsea and Arsenal have been linked with the young striker but it's believed his preference is for a Champions League club.

Arsenal transfer news: £45m deal for Thomas Lemar is 'close'

26 July

Arsenal have made what The Sun describes as a "breakthrough" in their pursuit of Monaco star Thomas Lemar and the Gunners are now "closing in on a £45m deal" for the winger.

Arsene Wenger has been tracking the 21-year-old for weeks and it's believed he's already had at least one bid turned down by the French champions who are allegedly demanding £80m for a player they signed from Caen in 2015. 

But Monaco's hopes that there eye-watering valuation would scare off Arsenal have proved in vain with the Sun reporting that Arsenal won't be deterred in their pursuit of the youngster. Lemar is believed to be in favour of the move to north London and according to reports in France he could make the move by the end of this week before Monaco face Paris Saint-Germain in Morocco.

Monaco have already lost Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy and Valere Germain this summer, while Kylian Mbappe is rumoured to be joining Real Madrid, so the loss of Lemar would reinforce the image of them being little more than a graduation academy for the European powerhouses.

No transfer window would be complete without a story linking Karim Benzema with a move to Arsenal, and the Daily Star has duly served one up, albeit later in the summer than usual. 

The Real Madrid frontman has been linked with a Bernabeu exit for a while with coach Zinedine Zidane not entirely convinced of his suitably, says the Star. Arsenal, meanwhile have never abandoned their long-term interest in the 29-year-old. 

Spanish media outlet Don Balon claims that Real will need to offload some of their squad in order to finance the £161m transfer of Kylian Mbappe from Monaco and Benzema is one of the players likely to be sold.

Arsenal transfer news: Wenger prefers Lemar to Mbappe

17 July

Arsenal are determined to sign Thomas Lemar and have abandoned a world record bid for his Monaco team-mate Kylian Mbappe.

Monaco have turned down two bids by Gunners for Lemar but boss Arsene Wenger will not be put off in his dogged  pursuit of the 21-year-old winger and could end up paying more than £48m for his services.

The Daily Telegraph adds a twist of intrigue to this complicated tale by suggesting Lemar’s arrival could pave the way for unsettled Alexis Sanchez to exit the Emirates.

But Wenger has something of a juggling act on his hands. He is reluctant to sell Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, who is also unhappy, and leave himself short of numbers until replacements have been found despite the record signing of Alexandre Lacazette.

Sanchez has made it clear that he is not satisfied with Arsenal’s Premier League position of fifth and failure to qualify for the Champions League.

However, Arsenal's current position is that Sanchez will not be sold - and certainly not to a Premier League rival like Manchester City and Chelsea - even if he goes into the last year of his contract.

The Daily Star says Lemar’s move to Arsenal is a done deal and will cost £48m plus add-ons.

The Star cites Tribal Football as its source and says an official announcement will be made when Arsenal return from their pre-season tour of Australia and China.

Monaco apparently wanted £53m but Gunners have managed to secure a reduction on the deal.

Teen sensation Mbappe netted 26 goals last season to help Monaco beat Paris Saint-Germain to the title while also reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Wenger is understood to be a huge admirer of Mbappe but is now resigned to missing out on the 18-year-old as Real Madrid step up their interest.

Finally, The Daily Express reports Arsenal could move for Celtic striker Moussa Dembele if Sanchez does leave.

Dembele, 20, has banged in 32 goals for Celtic in 48 appearances and has been valued at £30m.

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