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How would Lemar fit in at Arsenal? Assessing where the winger could play

Date Posted,July 9, 2017

Thomas Lemar is Arsenal’s most wanted man now they have captured Alexandre Lacazette.

Arsene Wenger is desperately attempting to negotiate a deal to bring the Monaco winger to the Emirates.

The north London club have already seen bids of £30m and £40m rejected by the Ligue 1 champions but are refusing to give up.

But how will he fit in at the Gunners? Tom Marshall-Bailey from Football.London has weighed up the possibilities…

Thomas Lemar is next on Arsenal’s wish list (Image: Reuters)
Alexis Sanchez could be replaced by Lemar (Image: Action Images via Reuters)

Lemar could yet effectively replace Alexis Sanchez should the Chilean get a move to Manchester City, though Arsenal are doing everything in their powers to prevent that nightmare scenario becoming a reality.

But the prospect of Lemar linking up with a player he has developed a rapport with in the French squad is an appealing one and something Wenger hopes he might be able to create an attacking pairing from.

The hope remains that Lemar will offer Arsenal another attacking option on top of Alexis, but there is a fear that he may be tasked with helping to replace the incredible statistics the Chilean recorded last season.

Sanchez’s goals and assists alone will be difficult to replace, let alone the work ethic he instills into those around him with his vivacious attitude.

Arsenal have already had two bid rejected for Lemar (Image: Getty Images Europe)
Alexandre Lacazette was unveiled as Arsenal’s record signing last week (Image: Arsenal FC via Getty)

When you consider Lemar’s own numbers from last season, it’s clear Arsenal would be purchasing more of a supplier than a scorer, though the £52m purchase of Lacazette rather offsets that problem.

But Lemar’s differing skillset to Sanchez’s may yet offer Arsenal different options in attacking areas and people in France believe he can be just as talented as a central player as he can in a more familiar position out wide on the left.

The 3-4-2-1 formation, then, does not appear as well suited to Lemar as it does to the effervescent Sanchez and the question mark that remains here is, should Lemar arrive and Sanchez depart, what would it mean for Sead Kolasinac’s role?

The popular belief is that the Bosnian will occupy the position Nacho Monreal largely laid claim to as the left-sided wing-back last season but should Lemar occupy the position Sanchez may vacate, it remains to be seen how two players who enjoy staying wide and delivering crosses in could function in this formation.

It would be an unpopular move in the eyes of some given the success the new formation engendered at the back end of last season, but in order to fit both Kolasinac and Lemar in, a return to the 4-2-3-1 formation – which became Wenger’s default prior to his tactical tweak – may fit the bill.

Kolasinac and Lemar as a left-sided combination is an exciting prospect, as is the idea of the Frenchman delivering balls in for his compatriot Lacazette to rack up the goals from central positions.

If Lemar did wish to play centrally, Arsenal could potentially benefit from playing a 4-3-1-2 formation – which appears one of few ways to crowbar Alexis, should he stay, Ozil and the possible new signing into the team along with Lacazette.

Playing Lemar in a three with Granit Xhaka sitting and Aaron Ramsey to Xhaka’s side would give Arsenal athleticism in midfield to allow Ozil to focus on pulling the strings in attacking areas.

Disrupting the blossoming midfield axis of Ramsey and Xhaka would be as counter productive as many will feel switching formation may be, yet in order to get the best out of Lemar Arsenal may require a switch.

The only other alternative is to replicate Monaco’s 4-4-2, a formation Lemar is used to and one in which his performances have led to a potential £45m transfer.

That would enable an exciting strike pairing of Sanchez and Lacazette but would almost definitely rule Mesut Ozil out of contention for a starting spot with no obvious fit for his creative talents – though Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would probably be the main beneficiary.

If £45m + buys you nothing else in this market, it certainly provides you with options.

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