Thomas Lemar

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Griezmann, Lemar on target as France warms up for Euro qualifiers

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Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Lemar found the back of the net as France topped Bolivia 2-0 in a pre-UEFA qualification friendly in Nantes.

Didier Deschamps put forth a strong starting lineup that included both first-choice central defenders Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane that held Bolivia to just one shot on target. Also in the mix from the opening whistle were Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, and Benjamin Pavard. Mbappe came off at halftime,

Lemar was first to strike, just five minutes in as France caught the visitors with an extremely high defensive line. Griezmann broke down the middle and switched play to Lemar on the left who was left unmarked. The ball wasn’t settled properly and bobbled, but Lemar was able to get a highly skillful looping shot off that chipped both a tracking defender and the charging Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe.

Just before halftime, France doubled the lead with a messy goal off a corner that Bolivia failed to clear and Griezmann pounced on the edge of the six-yard box to poke the ball home.

France racked up 18 shots with 10 on target, holding 66% possession in a dominating performance that saw the hosts hold 70% of the ball in the second half, although the final 45 minutes were punctuated by constant substitutions, often a case in warm-up friendlies. Kingsley Coman was especially dangerous during his 24 minutes off the bench, on to replace Lemar.

Players to come off the bench for France included Coman, Blaise Matuidi, and Wissam Ben Yedder while Olivier Giroud, N'Golo Kante, and Clement Lenglet were left unused on the bench.

Atleti reaches deal to sign France international Lemar

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid says it has reached a deal to sign France international Thomas Lemar from Monaco.

Atletico announced Tuesday it has a “preliminary agreement” with Monaco and “both clubs will work” to complete the transfer.

[ MORE: PST’s big World Cup roundtable ]

The 22-year-old winger is with France in Russia for the World Cup. He has scored three goals in 12 matches with the national team.

Lemar was a key player for Monaco when it reached the Champions League semifinals in the 2016-17 season.

Atletico won the Europa League this year.

Report: Liverpool closing in on Thomas Lemar

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Ah, just what Liverpool need, another attacking midfielder to score goals and cause havoc…

They’ve been linked with Thomas Lemar for quite some time and although Jurgen Klopp had seemed disinterested in Lemar in January, a fresh report from French outlet Le 10 Sport claims that Monaco and Liverpool are close to agreeing a deal in principle for the 22-year-old French international.

Report state that Lemar would cost over $100 million.

Lemar was chased by both Liverpool and Arsenal last summer and although Gunners looked likely to sign him at the end of the summer window, he backed out of the move.

The tricky attacker, who can operate across midfield, dazzled during Monaco’s 2016-17 title winning campaign in France as they also reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. Lemar scored 14 goals across 55 games in all competitions last season with 14 assists, but this season he has struggled to find the back of the net with three goals but he does have seven assists in Ligue 1.

Do Liverpool really need Lemar?

With Mohamed Salah in fine form out wide with 24 goals in the Premier League and 32 in all competitions, plus Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane scoring goals and creating havoc with a fine blend of attacking players, Klopp seems to have his attack sorted.

After losing Philippe Coutinho he paid $100 million for center back Virgil Van Dijk and still has roughly $94 million left to spend. With Adam Lallana and Danny Ings around, plus Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge out on loan, bringing in Lemar seems like adding another talented player to a squad which already seems unbalanced.

Then again, with his high-pressing tactics and injuries being kind to Mane, Salah and Firmino for most of this season, maybe Klopp realizes that he needs one more attacking midfield to add into the rotation to keep everyone fresh.

Lemar’s talents certainly seem to fit in with Liverpool playing ethos.

Transfer rumor roundup: Zlatan to leave United; City’s offer to Alexis

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The Alexis Sanchez-to-Manchester City transfer saga, which began in the summer, seems headed down the same path as Philippe Coutinho-to-Barcelona, which also began in the summer and culminated in a move in January

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

While Arsene Wenger insists no approach has been made to the club, the Guardian claims that Man City have already offered Sanchez a five-and-a-half-year, $340,000-per-week contract that would begin this month, should City and Arsenal agree a transfer fee for the 29-year-old.

[ MORE: Wenger says no approaches for Alexis Sanchez… yet ]

According to Yahoo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could leave Manchester United before the end of the season. Man United would prefer to keep Ibrahimovic through the end of his current contract which expires this summer, but the Red Devils do not expect him to return for a third season at Old Trafford and could choose to cash in (for a presumably small-ish fee) in the coming weeks or months, should an MLS or Chinese Super League side tempt the 36-year-old away from the Premier League. It is understood that United would not stand in his way in such a scenario.

[ MORE: Man City come back to lead Bristol City in League Cup semi ]

With Coutinho having left for Barcelona, Liverpool find themselves sitting on a cool $95 million, even after parting with $100 million for Virgil Van Dijk earlier this month. As such, a replacement attacker is expected to top Jurgen Klopp‘s wish list. According to the Mirror, 22-year-old Monaco playmaker Thomas Lemar, who was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal as part of Sanchez’s failed move to City, will cost any potential suitors — you guessed it — somewhere between $95 million and $125 million.

[ MORE: MLS comings & goings — LA, RSL, Colorado make big moves ]

Michy Batshuayi has made just two PL starts this season and could finish the campaign out on loan, according to ESPN UK. Sevilla are said to be interested in the 24-year-old who just eight months ago scored the PL title-clinching goal for Chelsea. Squarely stuck behind Alvaro Morata, last summer’s $81-million centerpiece signing, Batshuayi’s place in the Belgium squad for this summer’s World Cup is in real danger.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Aubameyang to Arsenal; Lemar to Liverpool

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Arsenal have been linked with an audacious move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to Sky Italy.

The Borussia Dortmund striker, 28, is currently on his winter break and is in Ghana for the African Footballer of the Year awards, and he will link up with Dortmund in Friday on Spain for their warm weather training camp to prepare for the second half of the Bundesliga season.

Per the report, Aubameyang is Arsenal’s first choice replacement if they lose Alexis Sanchez either in January or on a free transfer in the summer but Manchester City remain interested in the player.

The Gabonese striker seemed to be leaving Dortmund last summer with reports of Chelsea, Man City and clubs from the Chinese Super League all interested, but he remained at the Westfalenstadion and he has a contract with the German giants until 2021.

Aubameyang’s pedigree is undoubted and he’s scored 13 goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund this season. However, he was recently dropped for disciplinary reasons and has locked horns with club officials on multiple occasions over the past few years. His goalscoring record has been phenomenal with 40 goals and 39 goals in all competitions in the past two seasons respectively.

How would he slot in at Arsenal? Well, with Theo Walcott close to leaving in January, Danny Welbeck struggling for form and fitness, plus Olivier Giroud‘s long-term future uncertain, it would appear Aubameyang would be the main striker up top with Alexandre Lacazette. Having those two up top together and Mesut Ozil (if he signs a new deal) behind them creating chances is something which will make Arsenal fans salivate.

It is reported that Liverpool have lined up AS Monaco winger Thomas Lemar (valued at $120 million) to replace Philippe Coutinho if he leaves for Barcelona.

According to the Daily Mirror, Liverpool have reignited their interest in Lemar after failing to sign him last summer. The French international winger, 22, was also the subject of a Deadline Day bid from Arsenal back in the summer but that failed.

Lemar’s ability to play out wide or through the middle suits Klopp’s system perfectly and many will see Lemar as a like for like replacement for Coutinho.

If Liverpool get the $160 million (plus add ons) they are said to be asking for Coutinho, replacing him with Lemar and having $40 million is pretty good business, don’t you think?