The ex-Arsenal boss remains a keen admirer of fellow Frenchman Thomas Lemar – who he once tried to sign for the Gunners back in a dramatic deadline day swoop in 2017
Wenger clearly still thinks highly of the 25-year-old, who has slowly started to impress in La Liga after a slow start to his Atleti career.
Jurgen Klopp’s side took an early 2-0 lead after goals from Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita respectively, before an Antoine Griezmann brace levelled thing up at the Wanda Metropolitano.
At half-time, Wenger explained: “Overall, I must say you have to give credit to Atletico Madrid and especially to Lemar.
“You see on this occasion, Lemar – what he did is tonight, in the one against one was great and he is taking importance in that team.”
The summer transfer window of 2017 saw Arsenal relentlessly linked with a move for Lemar – the Gunners reportedly saw a £30m bid for the winger rejected in July.
What inspired Arsenal to treble their offer is unclear – Wenger’s valuation of the player a clear indicator as to how highly he rated the young attacker.
If the £92m offer had been accepted – it would have broken Arsenal’s then-transfer record by some distance, £40m more than the £52m forked out on fellow Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette.
That figure has since been surpassed on two separate occasions – once six months later during the £62m deal for Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, then again when the Gunners paid £72m for Nicolas Pepe.
Arsenal were not Lemar’s only suitors back then – fellow Premier League giants Liverpool also kept tabs on his situation, reportedly lodging two bids that were also rejected by Monaco.
Lemar was an integral part of a Monaco side that secured their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years.
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The France international notched 12 goals in 39 appearances during a season that will live long in the memory of all who witnessed it – as it also sparked the emergence of superstar Kylian Mbappe.
That same summer saw Monaco cash in on a number of their title winners.
Central midfielder Fabinho would later go on to join Liverpool – becoming a Champions League winner under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.