If reports are to be believed, Monaco star Thomas Lemar has chosen Arsenal over Tottenham. Smart decision. The Frenchman is a player I really like and definitely want to see in an Arsenal shirt next season but, where will he fit in?
He is a talented player who can play in many different positions in many different systems, so I have taken a look at how he could be utilised at The Emirates.
Winger In The 3-4-2-1
With 14 goals and 17 assists across all competitions this season, it is clear Lemar has a lot to offer going forward. However, the main issue regarding this position is his direct competition – Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
The stars of the Arsenal team, Lemar could be a direct replacement should either one or both depart, or work alongside the duo if they remain in North London.
But how does the Monaco man compare to Ozil and Sanchez?
In terms of goals and assists, Alexis Sanchez is way out in front with 30 and 19 respectively, across all competitions, while there is not much to separate Lemar and Ozil. The Frenchman does, however, come out on top with his 14 goals and 17 assists compared to the Arsenal man’s 12 and 14 respectively.
Even though Lemar and Sanchez have more goals and assists, Ozil outstrips them in all other attacking stats.
I can’t see Lemar immediately taking the place of Ozil should he be signed, but what a wonderful backup option he would provide.
Wing-Back In The 3-4-2-1
Lemar may never have played as a wing-back before, but I believe he does have the qualities to do so.
The former Caen man can is a wonderful crosser of the ball and this could be an incredibly dangerous weapon from a deep position. The likes of Olivier Giroud with his target man ability, or Alexandre Lacazette (should he join) with his penalty box poacher talents, or even Aaron Ramsey running from deep could benefit from his accurate and dangerous early crossing.
Despite his tender years, Lemar is aware that he needs to fulfill his defensive duties in wide areas by tracking back and dropping in to help his full-back.
While a wing-back role would see him doing most of the defensive work, his wherewithal to defend would suit the role and see him unlikely to get caught out going forward.
We saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain convert from a wide midfielder to a wing-back so why can’t Lemar do it as well?
The Frenchman has also posted good defensive stats, something that would help him as a wing-back.
Winger In the 4-2-3-1
As much as I want to see the 3-4-2-1 remain, Arsene Wenger could very well return to the 4-2-3-1 formation he favoured for many years, in order to fit Lemar, Ozil, and Sanchez into the starting XI.
However, despite personally preferring three at the back, the 21-year-old’s willingness to do the defensive work could see the four-back formation function better as Lemar would complement the work rate of Sanchez on the opposite side and provide a better balance to the team shape.
This role would likely suit Lemar the best as it is most similar to one he plays in at Monaco but, no one knows what system Wenger will go with yet, we shall see.
Regardless of the formation and role, he will play upon arrival, I am keen for Arsenal to fork out for Thomas Lemar. At just 21-years-old he has plenty of years ahead of him and he would hopefully spend his best years at Arsenal.
His versatility and talent are clear for all to see, two attributes that will be much needed in what will be a difficult season of Europa League football on a Thursday night.
I think we need Lemar, and I really do hope we get him.