Thomas Lemar is closing in on a transfer to Atletico Madrid after the Spanish club announced they have reached a “preliminary agreement” with Monaco for the France winger.
Lemar has regularly been linked with a move away from Stade Louis II since enjoying a sensational campaign in the club’s title-winning 2016-17 season.
The 22-year-old was a key man for Leonardo Jardim’s side, scoring nine times and setting up another 10 in Ligue 1.
He attracted the interest of Arsenal – among others – and appeared to be on the verge of a move to Emirates Stadium early last season, but the collapse of Alexis Sanchez’s proposed switch to Manchester City reportedly saw Lemar’s transfer fall apart.
But he finally appears to have secured his next challenge, with Atletico giving every indication they want to close the gap on LaLiga champions Barcelona next season by signing a highly rated attacker.
It was no secret that Atletico had been looking for attacking reinforcements, as the club reluctantly sold both Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang in February, well after the transfer window had closed in LaLiga.
Those departures left Diego Simeone’s squad short on numbers, but they still managed to finish second ahead of bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Lemar will hope his impending arrival is seen as enough of a statement of intent to convince international team-mate Antoine Griezmann to stay at the club.
Griezmann, who has been strongly linked with Barcelona, said on Tuesday that he has made a decision on his future but will only reveal it after France’s World Cup campaign.
Lemar is a part of Didier Deschamps’ France squad in Russia and could be in line for a start in their first game against Australia on Saturday should Kylian Mbappe miss out with an ankle knock.