AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim refused to rule out a move for Arsenal target Thomas Lemar despite insisting that the club want to retain all their key players.

The Principality club have already lost a host of players this summer with Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy joining Manchester City, while Tiemoue Bakayoko has moved to Chelsea. The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and Fabinho have all been linked with a move away, but the manager is hoping that the club can retain them for the upcoming campaign.

Arsene Wenger has made Lemar one of the Gunners' priority targets this summer and is keen to make him the club's third addition following the arrivals of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette. The French coach even confirmed recently that they are in negotiations, but are yet to reach a conclusion over the move.

They have already had three bids turned down and are said to be preparing a fourth offer. The north London club are said to be preparing an eight-player clear out to fund a move for the France international, who is said to be keen to move to the Emirates Stadium this summer.

The Ligue 1 club's hierarchy are keen to retain the likes of Lemar and Mbappe, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid. However, Jardim is aware that it is difficult for the club to keep the players that have attracted interest from top clubs across Europe.

"All the players who were important last season are important to keep for the club," Jardim said, as quoted by the Express.

"But it has been showed over the years that it's not always possible to keep the players, and you know how our project works. So our goal is to work well with players who will stay here after the transfer window closes," the Monaco manager explained.

Jardim has praised the trio's focus during their pre-season preparations despite constant speculation regarding their future. Mbappe has been training with the squad and despite not scoring a single goal during their friendly fixtures; the manager praised his hard work.

The 18-year-old striker's has constantly been linked with a move away and recent reports are suggesting that Barcelona are set to battle Real Madrid for the France international's signature. The Catalan club have entered the race after it became clear that Neymar is on the verge of completing a world-record €222m (£198m) transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days.

Thomas Lemar
Arsene Wenger remains keen to sign Thomas Lemar from AS Monaco this summer Getty

"Yes, [Mbappe] did not score in pre-season, but he is working hard to change things. It's not only about him, all the young players who were here last year and had a great season, Fabinho, Lemar, Kylian, we're talking about them joining other clubs, but they stay focused.

"Of course, Fabinho and Lemar are older, they may be a bit more mature, but Kylian, even these last two days, he's been working well. They know that the most important thing is the pitch."