Arsenal warned they will have to pay high price to secure Atletico Madrid star Thomas Lemar

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Arsenal will have to make an ‘important’ offer to Atletico Madrid if they are to land winger Thomas Lemar in January, according to reports.

A winger is apparently one of new boss Mikel Arteta’s top targets in January, given the struggles that summer signing Nicolas Pepe has had this season.

Lemar has long been a transfer target for the Gunners, and they were in the race to sign him from Monaco in summer 2018. However, Atletico won the race, signing the French international for £53 million.

However, that interest has apparently not dulled and Arsenal are encouraged to make a bid given that Lemar is not a regular starter in Diego Simeone’s side.

That said, he is under contract until 2023 and Spanish newspaper AS has reported Atletico bosses saying that it would take an important’ offer for them to consider selling the 24-year-old.

It is not known how big a transfer kitty Arteta will be given by the Gunners hierarchy, but given their struggles this season – including leaky defence and under-performing midfield – the new boss may look to make several signings.

The kitty could be boosted if Granit Xhaka leaves in January – Herta Berlin are apparently interested in taking the Swiss midfielder to the Bundesliga.