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Monaco insist Thomas Lemar not leaving this month


Paris (AFP) – Monaco will not let sought-after midfielder Thomas Lemar leave the club before the end of the season, the vice-president of the reigning French champions said on Monday.

Vadim Vasilyev was asked in an interview if he could “100 percent guarantee that Thomas Lemar will stay at Monaco until the end of the season.”

The Russian answered “yes”.

Lemar, 22, has a contract until 2020 but he has been linked with a move to the Premier League this month, with Arsenal and Liverpool said to be especially keen.

The January transfer window closes at midnight on Wednesday.

Arsenal reportedly offered around 100 million euros (£90 million, $124 million) for the France international just before the last transfer window closed in August, but Monaco rejected that offer.

“When I have to take a decision, I weigh up all the risks and consequences,” Vasilyev added as he also rejected suggestions that Brazilian midfielder Fabinho could depart.

Fabinho had wanted a transfer last summer when Paris Saint-Germain were interested, but Monaco refused to let him go then.

It seems likely that both will be allowed to go in the next close season.

“They are both coming back and are going to be very important in the second half of the season. If they both left, that could have a very negative impact on the team and maybe we would not be able to compete for a podium place this year,” Vasilyev added.

Monaco are currently fourth in Ligue 1, a point behind Lyon in second and Marseille in third, but 12 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Only the top three qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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