Arsenal are finally ready to admit defeat in their summer-long pursuit of Thomas Lemar, according to reports.
Arsene Wenger had identified the Monaco winger as one of his primary transfer targets and has seen two bids in excess of £40million rejected by the French champions.
Monaco have seen a number of the key players who inspired last season’s unlikely title-winning campaign move on this summer, including Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy who joined Premier League powerhouses Chelsea and Manchester City.
The Daily Mail claim, however, that Monaco believe they have won the battle to keep hold of 21-year-old Lemar who scored 14 goals and record 14 assists last season.
Thomas Lemar 2016/17 stats
Instead of chasing an alternative to Lemar, the report claims Wenger will now focus on trimming his bloated squad over the remainder of the transfer window.
Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell all need to find new clubs but none is close to a move now.
Gibbs had been linked with a move to Watford but the deal is on the verge of colapsing over the England full-back’s wage demands, while Perez is wanted by a host of Spanish clubs as well as Newcastle United.
After Friday’s 4-3 win over Leicester on Friday, Wenger said: ‘I feel overall we have good ingredients in the squad and it is a good opportunity at Stoke to show it again away from home.
‘I played with a four at the end with Chamberlain on the right and Bellerin on the left and both of them did very well.’