Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar had a dream night for France on the day he was the subject of what was understood to be a £92 million transfer deadline-day bid from Arsenal.
Here’s a look at how he performed in scoring twice for France in their 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Holland in Paris on Thursday night.
Often tucked in on the left with Layvin Kurzawa overlapping, there were few opportunities to judge Lemar’s crossing ability against the Dutch.
But there were plenty of incisive short-range, first-time balls which indicated his comfort in possession at the top level.
Made some intelligent attacking runs, including one which was completely ignored by Paul Pogba five minutes before half-time when the Manchester United man opted to shoot rather than pick him out.
Showed great box-to-box ability after tracking back to cut out a Timothy Fosu-Mensah cross in the 65th minute before bursting forward and releasing Griezmann, but the Atletico Madrid man could not find a team-mate with his cross from the left.
He was also rewarded for continuing his forward burst when Griezmann laid on his second goal in the 88th minute.
He had one half-chance charged down in the first quarter of the game but otherwise his withdrawn role looked as though it would give him little opportunity for a shot on goal.
An opening appeared to present itself early in the second half when Griezmann worked the ball left to him on the edge of the box, but Lemar opted to come back inside and was crowded out.
But he demonstrated how deadly he can be with a sublime left-foot strike from the edge of the box after Stefan de Vrij’s headed clearance fell to him on the edge of the box, and was also a willing runner in the breakaway which led to his second and France’s third.
Don’t know what all the fuss over Thomas Lemar is about.
— Brendon Netto (@BrendonNetto) August 31, 2017
Lemar looked every inch a European superstar in the making – slight of build but with exceptional technique and tactical awareness.
Provided by Press Association Sport
MAN CITY SPEND MORE ON DEFENCE THAN ENTIRE COUNTRIES
Much has been made of Manchester City’s spending on defenders and goalkeepers since Pep Guardiola took over last summer. In that time period, he’s brought in goalkeepers Ederson and Claudio Bravo as well as defenders John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker, among others, with the total amount spent on defence exceeding £200m.
That’s more than the defence spending of 27 countries.
Annual spending on #defence:
— Financial Sports® (@FinancialSs) July 31, 2017
RENNES PROFIT FROM SECOND DEMBELE TRANSFER
Rennes sold Ousmane Dembele to Borussia Dortmund last summer for a €15m transfer fee. But that was far from the last time they would profit from a Dembele transfer, thanks to a sell-on clause.
When Barcelona agreed to buy Dembele from Dortmund for an initial €105m price tag last week, a fee that could rise to €145m, the amount of money Rennes received actually broke the club’s transfer record for most money received for a player. The French club pocketed around €25m this time around, more than the €20m Monaco paid for Shabani Nonda in 2000.
In total, Rennes have received around €40m for the 20-year-old who rose through their academy.
Rennes have received more money from Ousmane Dembele’s transfer from BVB to Barcelona than they got from selling him in the first place 💰 pic.twitter.com/QW5QSUg3x4
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 25, 2017
PSG SET TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE THIS SEASON?
Only twice before have the two most expensive players in the world at the time been on the same team. In 2001, Real Madrid signed Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for €77.5m, breaking the transfer record they had set when purchasing Luis Figo from Barcelona for €60m the previous summer. And in 2013, Real Madrid again broke their own record, buying Gareth Bale for €100m and pairing him with the previous record-holder, Cristiano Ronaldo (€94m).
A coincidence for both purchases: in the ensuing season, Real Madrid won the Champions League, both times.
This summer, Kylian Mbappe has joined PSG in a deal said to be worth €180m, the second-most expensive transfer ever (although it’s technically a loan with a compulsory purchase option next summer). This comes just weeks after the Parisian club set the new record with the €222m capture of Neymar.
Will the duo continue the trend and hold the famous Champions League trophy aloft at the end of the season?
CLUB TRANSFER RECORDS FALL BY THE WAYSIDE
Making a club-record signing is the ultimate statement of intent in the transfer window. But in the Premier League this summer, doing so almost became run-of-the-mill – a whopping 13 out of 20 clubs broke their transfer records in the summer window.
This included all of last year’s top five with Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all making club-record buys. Incidentally, it’s last year’s sixth-placed team, Manchester United, which set the mark for the most expensive signing in the Premier League this summer, £75m for Romelu Lukaku. With add-ons, that fee could rise to £90million, which would also be a club record.
Outside of England, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and of course PSG were among the clubs in the top five European leagues to break their transfer records, as were Nice and Sevilla.
AC Milan actually broke their record twice – first for Andre Silva, who arrived on a €38m transfer from Porto, and then in the stunning €42m capture of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus.
Speaking of breaking your club record multiple times within a short time span, back to the Premier League for one last stat:
Fourth time Burnley’s club transfer record has been broken in past year – Defour, Hendrick, Brady now Chris Wood https://t.co/gpMSW5Cc40
— Simon Evans (@sgevans) August 21, 2017
NOBODY SPENDS LIKE THE PREMIER LEAGUE
The number of times summer spending across a league has crossed more than £1bn? If you’re not counting the Premier League, the answer is 0.
If you are…the Premier League crossed £1bn last year, finishing at £1.18bn, then topped that mark with nine days to spare this summer. This summer’s total will end up around £1.5bn.
A PERFECT 10 FOR THE WORLD TRANSFER RECORD
PSG became the 10th different club to hold the football transfer record over a timeframe of 25 years since Milan’s £10m purchase of Jean-Pierre Papin from Marseille in 1992. The record had switched between Italy, Spain and England in the ensuing years before PSG’s capture of Neymar this summer.
However, after Lazio spent a then-record fee of £35.5million for Hernan Crespo in 2000, only three clubs have held the record: Real Madrid, Manchester United, and now PSG.
World record transfer fees since 1992 pic.twitter.com/vIertRi8wG
— Arsène’s Son (@hughwizzy) August 4, 2017
REAL MADRID, MODEL OF SENSIBILITY
Only two players purchased, less than €50m spent. At any other top club in Europe, this would be cause for a crisis, so it’s a mark of how well Real Madrid have done in recent years and how much stability manager Zinedine Zidane has brought to his squad.
Despite letting James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata go, Madrid resisted the urge to make a big-money buy in an attempt to find a replacement. They looked like the frontrunners for Mbappe, but ended up pulling out of running for the young Frenchman. Instead, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio will get more minutes, and the latter looks like an explosive talent.
Madrid were quite content with only getting left-back Theo Hernandez for €27m from cross-town rivals Atletico and midfielder Dani Ceballos for €14.85m from Real Betis, part of their new strategy of identifying young talent and using them to add depth to their squad.
Who would have thought it would be one of the original Galacticos to put a pause on the Galactico policy?
The English transfer window has closed but the future of Liverpool ace PHILIPPE COUTINHO remains in the air with the Spanish window open until 11pm BST on Friday. Barcelona have already made three big-money bids for the Brazilian and, according to The Sun, could make a final offer on Friday.
However, The Daily Mail say Barca have admitted defeat in their pursuit of Coutinho, which is why they denied ANDRE GOMES a loan move to Tottenham on Thursday.
Chelsea forward DIEGO COSTA is another who could find himself centre stage on Friday, with the want-away Spain international keen on a return to Atletico Madrid. According to The Mirror, negotiations are moving – albeit slowly – for Atletico to sign Costa and, with the Rojiblancos under a transfer ban until January, for the striker to then go out on loan.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho launched a last-gasp bid to sign WILLIAN from former club Chelsea late on deadline day, reports The Sun. No deal was forthcoming for the Brazilian but time will tell if something materialises in January.
Crystal Palace may have added £26million defender Mamadou Sakho to their ranks on deadline day but it remains to be seen if manager FRANK DE BOER will still be around to utilise the France international, with The Times reporting that the Dutchman fears he could be sacked this weekend.
@SkySportsPL: Chelsea and Atletico Madrid set for more talks on Friday over the transfer of Diego Costa skysports.tv/Sq4zKX
@MARCAinEnglish: Marcos Llorente is a man in demand! @realmadriden have received 20 offers. buff.ly/2vIyID4
@GuillemBalague: Barcelona still “hopeful” of Coutinho deal. But will not go “crazy”. Liverpool will reject any offer that might arrive in the next 24 hours
Mahrez looked certain to leave Leicester on transfer deadline day after Algeria gave the winger permission to leave their training camp to “formalise his transfer to his new club”. Nothing was settled on Thursday but Barcelona could still swoop for the Foxes forward, according to The Sun.
Juventus rejected an offer of €160m from Barcelona for their Italian playmaker, according to Il Corriere Dello Sport on Thursday. With Neymar’s money still burning a hole in their pockets, it could be that Barca will launch a further bid for Dybala on Friday.
According to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, Barcelona could turn their attentions to Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil if they cannot make any headway with Coutinho, with reports of a 60million euro offer for the Germany international.