Thomas Lemar – Scout Report
After and unbelievable 2016/2017 campaign, Thomas Lemar has the footballing world at his feet, being touted as one of the hottest prospects within Football. With a host of clubs vouching for the 21 year olds signature, Arsenal looks to be in a prime position to secure the services of the Monaco man in a deal worth around £55 million inclusive of add-ons. In this scout report, we look at why Lemar could be a key player in making Arsenal into serious title contenders due to the extensive quality and potential he will add to the team.
Who is Thomas Lemar?
Thomas Lemar was born on the 12th of November, 1995, in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe. His youth years within Football consisted of several years playing for several teams in Guadeloupe, which included a 7 year stint with Solidaritè Scolair. Lemar then went on to join the academy of French outfit SM Caen, in 2010 at the age of 14. After joining the academy of SM Caen, Lemar went on to represent the French national team for the first time in 2011, playing for the U-17s. Lemar then went on to represent the U-18, U-19, U-20, U-21, finally making his first senior appearance against Ivory Coast on the 15th of November 2016, coming on as a 78th minute substitute in a game ending 0-0.
After impressing at the SM Caen youth academy, Lemar was offered his first professional contract, which he signed in March 2013. Lemar then made his first senior appearance at club level, by replacing Jerome Rothen during the opening weekend of the 2013/2014 Ligue 2 season. During his first season, Lemar was used as an impact substitute, rather than a first XI starter by SM Caen coach Patrice Garande. SM Caen then went on and achieved promotion to Ligue 1 during the 2013/2014 campaign, and Lemar was a impressive asset when coming off the bench during the season. During the 2014/2015 Ligue 1 season, Lemar was still mainly used as an impact substitute, but impressed during the limited minutes he achieved throughout the season. However, despite being a regular non-starter for MS Caen, he impressed Monaco scouts and secured a €5 million move to French outfit AS Monaco in the summer of 2015.
Having secured his move to AS Monaco, Lemar continued to improve, becoming a key player in his maiden season at AS Monaco, notching an impressive 5 goals and 5 assists in 34 appearances, helping Monaco achieve a 3rd place finish, granting them a place in the next seasons Champions League. However, Lemar was only getting started; he went on to become a key player to Leonardo Jardim’s 2016/2017 Monaco team. He went on to achieve a total of 14 goals and 17 assists in 55 appearances, helping them win Ligue 1, and get into the semi-finals of both the Champions League and the Coupe de France.
At the age of 21, Thomas Lemar is already one of the most complete attacking players in and around his age bracket. He can play on the left wing, on the left of midfield and can also be used as an attacking midfielder, due to his incredible versatility and assets that he possesses. Already a very impressive set-piece specialist, whether taking on a direct free kick at goal, or delivering a dead ball into the area, Lemar has as the skills required. He also has a very good passing variety, being able to offset the ball with both good short and long range passes, due to his great technique and vision, which allowed Monaco to move with great fluidity and pace last season, tearing teams apart.
Lemar also has an incredible turn of pace, allowing himself to accelerate away from most players with ease. Using his pace, he makes intelligent darting runs behind the defence, leaving the defender stranded. He is also incredibly agile, and is very comfortable dribbling with both feet, which is a very good asset to have, as it gives him more options and directions to pass a defender. Place this skill alongside his incredible ball control and technical finesse; you have a lethal dribbler, who can pass players with ease.
However, with all the quality technical skills that Lemar possesses, there is also a very vital aspect to his game that makes him such a great player, this is his incredible footballing intelligence. At the age of 21, Lemar already has decisive decision making on the football pitch, allowing him to make well timed and effective off-ball runs, freeing space for his teammates. Lemar also knows when to make correct decision of whether to pass or dribble, which gives him the ability to create space for himself, but also get out of tight situations with relative ease and flair.
At just 1.70 metres tall and weighing in at just 53kg, Lemar is not the strongest or largest of players around. One particular aspect where he struggles is during physical battles, such as shoulder to shoulder encounters or aerial duel, but this is expected of a player of his physique. There is also another aspect of his game which needs to be addressed; this would be the consistency of his passing, having achieved a relatively poor passing accuracy of 82.9% for a player of his quality. Nonetheless, with the intelligence and determination to improve, there is no doubt that these weaknesses can be ratified, improving his overall game, and allow him to maximise his full potential, and becoming a world class player.
Where will Lemar fit into the team?
It is clear that Lemar is a quality aspect to have going forward in the team. However, the main issue in his signature would be where he fits into the team. One position that he could play would be as a Winger in a three pronged attack. The main issue with this position would be the direct competition with Sanchez and Ozil, who will be very hard to shift out of the starting XI. With that said, Lemar could be great competition to keep both Ozil and Sanchez at their best. Furthermore, Lemar would be a very valuable impact substitute or direct replacement to either Sanchez or Ozil, dependant on squad rotation and injury. Lemar most likely won’t slot straight into to the position as winger in the formation, but he will be a formidable back up asset to the team.
3-4-2-1 Wing Back
Lemar has never been placed at wing back during his career thus far, however, it is clear that he has the qualities to do so, with patience of course. His pace will allow him to keep up with the demanding defensive and offensive requirements of a good wing back, allowing him to move up and down the pitch at relative ease. Offensively, Lemar will be a great asset to have in the team, due to his quality dribbles and off-ball runs on the left flank, alongside the ability to play dangerous balls into the area, which both Lacazette and Giroud could thrive on. On the other hand, the defensive side of Lemar’s game still needs some vast improvements. Having won only 35% of his tackles last season, along with making only 29 interceptions and 19 clearances, Lemar still has a lot of room for improvement. Combine that with the impressive competition from Kolasinac and Monreal in the left wing back role, I don’t see Lemar slotting into that position over the next few seasons, but he provides the option to cover it due to suspensions and injury’s, which is always good to have.
3-4-2-1 Central Midfielder
The role of a quality, deep lying and ball playing central midfielder is of great need at Arsenal, due to the large void left in result of Santi Cazorlas extensive and repetitive injury problems. It is already clear to see that Lemar has the assets to fill this role, due to the type of player he is, and his intelligent footballing mind. He has the ability to pass the ball effectively in tight areas, dribble in confined spaces and has very good positional and special awareness. With time, Lemar can be moulded into a quality player, and become very alike to Santi Cazorla in many aspects of his game. Having said this, Lemar will need time to adapt to this new position, along with adapting to the pace and physicality of the EPL. However, this does seem to be the position he will eventually control at Arsenal given a lot of hard work and patience.
To conclude, Lemar would be an unbelievable addition to the Arsenal squad, as he has all the qualities of an Arsenal player, and one which would help push Arsenal to the next level. He can be played in a variety of different positions due to his versatility and will offer good competition for positions within the squad. It will be interesting to see where he slots into the team once he completes his transfer to Arsenal, but there is no doubt that he will be a quality player for years to come, with his best years yet to come.
By, Oliver Dobinson (The Clock End Talk Scout)