French World Cup star Thomas Lemar looks set to quit Monaco and join Atletico Madrid, the two clubs revealed on Tuesday.
“Atletico de Madrid and AS Monaco have achieved a preliminary agreement over the transfer of Thomas Lemar to our club,” for the definitive transfer,” the Spanish club said of the 22-year old.
“Over the next days, both clubs will work to close the agreement,” the Madrid club said of the attacking midfielder usually deployed on the left.
The slightly built Lemar looked set to join Arsenal a year ago but Monaco pulled out of the potential £92-million (100 million euros) deal after selling a string of other stars.
Lemar was also tipped to join Liverpool as they seek to replace Philippe Coutinho.
A source close to the deal told AFP the transfer fee would be around 75 million euros, with the Guadeloupe-born player’s contract running out in 2020.
He joined Monaco from French top flight club Caen for 4m euros in 2015.
“In the last season, Lemar has continued to show his quality,” Atletico said on their website. In fact he played 35 games for Monaco, showing his best form at the latter end of the season.
Didier Deschamps left many top stars out of his World Cup squad but kept faith with Lemar, who scored recently for France in a win over Colombia and bagged a brace last year against the Dutch.
Lemar played down a move ahead of setting off for the World Cup saying: “There’s no news. I’m just concentrating on the World Cup”.
Having made a run to the Champions League semis and won the French title in 2017, Monaco sold Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea, and let teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe leave for Paris Saint Germain.
Monaco’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho will join Liverpool following the World Cup finals in Russia as Monaco cash in again.