Liverpool's pursuit of Thomas Lemar has been given a major boost after AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim admitted that the club could be open to doing business during the ongoing January transfer window.
Jurgen Klopp has identified the France international as his primary target to replace Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona in a club-record £142m deal on Saturday, 6 January.
Lemar has been on the radar of several Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, since last summer but the Reds are said to be favourites to land him ahead of their rivals. The Monaco midfielder is also said to have made up his mind to join the Anfield side either in January or at the end of the season.
The 22-year-old was subject to a €100m (£88.1m) bid from Arsenal on deadline day in the previous transfer window, but the move failed to go through owing to time constraints. According to the Mirror, the Gunners have reignited their interest again this month as they face the prospect of losing Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City.
The Chilean can join the club of his choice when he becomes a free agent in the summer, but City boss Pep Guardiola is said to want him during this window and has given the club the go-ahead to make a bid and sign Sanchez in January.
Wenger is not keen to lose one of his key players midway through the campaign, but could sanction the move if they sign a top-quality replacement. Lemar is valued at £90m by the French club and it remains to be seen which club is willing to match their valuation.
Jardim was previously adamant that Lemar would not be sold midway through the season, but the Principality club's manager has changed his stance and admitted that a deal is possible before the end of the month. Monaco are said to believe that they can receive a higher value in the winter window rather than if they wait to sell the midfielder until the summer.
"We are not used to selling in the winter," Jardim told reporters on Monday, 8 January, as quoted by Goal.com. "But the transfer window lasts until the end of the month and many things can happen."
Liverpool are the favourites to sign Lemar ahead of other interested clubs, but his high valuation could see them turn to other more economic options. Riyad Mahrez has been touted as a potential replacement for the Reds, with Arsenal also linked with a move for the Algerian.