Renan Lodi
Getty Images/Denis Doyle

It’s been coming, we’re just surprised it took this long for this particular connection to be made.

Thomas Lemar’s time at Atletico Madrid is coming to an end, and the Spanish club are winding up the hype machine to try and find a taker for the winger. It’s not a shock then, to see the Evening Standard today linking him to Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea.

There’s no doubt that the France winger has a lot more to give. There have been glimpses of the impressive wide play that convinced the usually shrewd Spanish club to pay Monaco so much for him two years ago; and he can justifiably attribute some of his issues to the system Diego Simeone has in place – even Joao Felix is struggling in a similar situation this year.

However, the reality is that Lemar has been given chance after chance, and his club have tried everything to help him. He has 0 assists and 0 goals in 9 league starts this season; after managing just 3 of each in 22 starts last term.

At this stage, it suits both parties to go their separate ways, and the preferable solution financially for all involved would be a move to the Premier League – hence the rumours bubbling up from on the continent, likely pushed by both Atleti and the player’s agent as they look to create a market, or at least exaggerate what market there is.

Chelsea could do with an extra wide player, that’s for sure, with Pedro and Willian both coming to the end of their current deals in the summer and possibly even leaving before then. But £50m is an enormous sum to pay for a player who has consistently disappointed for a season and a half now, no matter how much you need someone in that position.

It’s a discount on Wilfried Zaha, our top target according to most sources, whom we have been quoted £80m for. But in saving that money you miss out on the aspects that make Zaha an attractive option in the first place – his extensive Premier League experience, his ability to play as a striker to back up Tammy Abraham, his far more impressive physicality, and the fact he’s already settled in London and wouldn’t see his performances affected by the difficulties of relocation.

In our opinion, a permanent move for Lemar anywhere near that price is out of the question. A loan for the rest of the season (which the Standard say would cost £5m), perhaps with an option to buy, is feasible – although still by no means likely.

Transfer rumour verdict: Highly unlikely

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