Antonio Conte Plans to Hijack £80 Million Arsenal Move for Thomas Lemar

The Premier League's biggest clubs are expected to return for Thomas Lemar next month. But this time Chelsea is expected to swoop in and sign the Monaco midfielder with an offer of £80 million, according to reports.

Lemar, one of the only remaining members of Monaco's Ligue 1 winning team from last season, was the subject of interest from Arsenal and Liverpool in the summer.

With Alexis Sanchez keen to leave the Emirates Stadium after a bid was made by Manchester City, Arsenal looked to replace him with Lemar. The club reportedly made a £90 million deadline day bid for the Frenchman but the deal never materialized.

Lemar has seen plenty of his teammates from last season leave Monaco, with many heading to England. Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva joined Manchester City, while Tiemoue Bakayoko signed at Chelsea.

And, according to L'Equipe, Lemar could be reunited with Bakayoko as soon as January as the French newspaper claims Chelsea is considering an £80 million offer.

Lemar scored 12 goals last season for Monaco that helped the team to win the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 17 years and reach the semifinal of the Champions League. His performances earned him a call-up to the national team under Didier Deschamps.

The 22-year-old has been out injured for much of the past month but returned to action in a 3-2 win over Troyes in the league and then helped Monaco knock Caen out the French Cup.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield, England, Decmber 12. Conte reportedly wants to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco in January. Gareth Copley/Getty

Chelsea, meanwhile, is third in the Premier League and 12 points off leader Manchester City. Manager Antonio Conte has shown his frustrations throughout the season at the club's failure to make more signings in the summer.

Bakayoko was one of four incoming players at Stamford Bridge, joined by Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater and Alvaro Morata. Morata, the Spanish striker, has been Conte's preferred option up front this season, featuring in 23 games so far.

But an illness and fatigue saw him stay at home for Chelsea's 3-1 win away to Huddersfield on Tuesday (December 12). Conte showed his lack of options in attack as he opted to play Eden Hazard as a false nine rather than Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi, who started the game on the bench.

Thomas Lemar
Thomas Lemar, right, at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, France, October 10. Lemar was wanted by Arsenal in the summer. CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty