Monaco emphatic over potential last-minute January deal for Thomas Lemar

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Monaco are adamant Liverpool target Thomas Lemar won’t be leaving the club this month, with their focus on achieving their objectives this season.

The Reds have secured the signings of Virgil van Dijk and Tony Gallacher so far in January, with the latter arriving as part of Neil Critchley‘s U23s side.

Through the Anfield exit, however, went Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Ryan Kent and Marko Grujic, along with academy trio Cameron Brannagan, Matty Virtue and Corey Whelan.

Jurgen Klopp is currently left with a senior squad of just 24 players, including Danny Ward, Nathaniel Clyne and Ben Woodburn, who have made two appearances combined this season so far.

Despite this, Liverpool look unlikely to make further additions before Wednesday night’s deadline, with their primary targets unavailable.

One of those players is France international Lemar, with Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev telling RMC that the 22-year-old would “100 percent” not be allowed to leave this month.

“We will say no because the objectives are clear. Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed,” he explained.

“It could have had a very negative impact on the team [if he left] and maybe we would not be [challenging] this year.”

Thomas Lemar / Marco Verratti - 30.08.2015 - Monaco / PSG - 4eme journee de Ligue 1 Photo : Serge Haouzi / Icon Sport

This serves as an emphatic statement from the Ligue 1 side, with Vasilyev stressing in no uncertain terms that Lemar will not be sold regardless of the offer on the table.

It is the opposite stance that has set Liverpool apart from their Premier League rivals this January, with the sale of Coutinho increasingly concerning.

Barcelona’s bid of £142 million was too good to turn down from a business perspective, but the failure to replace the Brazilian immediately could be costly in terms of performance.

While the Reds sealed an impressive 4-3 victory at home to league leaders Man City after Coutinho’s exit, they have since lost back-to-back meetings with Swansea City and West Brom.

Their inability to break down two deep-sitting sides highlights the need for more creativity from midfield.

Without Coutinho, they are lacking this key quality, though Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has showcased the ability to do so on occasion since his £35 million move from Arsenal.

Vasilyev’s comments underline the difficulty in signing top-level players mid-season, and they do go some length to explaining Klopp’s rationale in waiting for his priority targets.

But they also serve to further illuminate Liverpool’s questionable decision in weakening their squad halfway through a promising campaign.

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