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30th Aug, 2017 | 2:18pm

Jaw-dropping bid tabled, Liverpool battle Barcelona in the race to land attacking midfielder - reports

By Aramide Oladipo

Spanish giants Barcelona have joined Liverpool in the race to sign AS Monaco winger Thomas Lemar this summer, according to a report.

Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo claims that the Catalan club have decided to pursue the 21-year-old after failing to secure the signature of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

This follows up from the report in L’Equipe which reported that the Reds have tabled a jaw-dropping bid of £74.3million plus striker Divock Origi on loan in order to acquire Lemar’s services this summer.

The Reds have reportedly informed Coutinho that he will only be allowed to move to the Camp Nou if they manage to sign Lemar before the transfer window shuts.

The report claims that Barcelona are resigned to missing out on the Brazilian this summer and they have turned their attention to Lemar as well as Paulo Dybala and Antoine Griezmann.

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Lemar was outstanding for Monaco last season, helping them to their first league title since 2000, notching up 14 goals and a whopping 17 assists in all competitions.

The France international has already produced two assists this season as Monaco remain unbeaten in Ligue 1.

Lemar currently has three years remaining on his contract with the French champions.

Football Insider verdict

Liverpool find themselves in a very interesting situation with this Lemar deal as Barcelona are now in the frame. Should the Reds cool their interest in the winger, it will allow the La Liga side to be in pole position for Lemar and essentially see them end their interest in Coutinho this summer. Although Lemar is an outstanding talent, it would make more sense for Liverpool to keep hold of Coutinho for at least one more year and build on their current squad for the remainder of the campaign. The Reds have shown that they can deliver the goods without the Brazilian at the start of the season and it will be up to Coutinho to earn his place back in the side and replicate his form from the previous campaign.

In other Liverpool transfer news, the Reds are unwilling to sell this player to a Premier League rival.

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