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5 cheaper Thomas Lemar alternatives who Arsenal should consider signing

Julian Brandt

The acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette aside, it's been a pretty barren couple of months for Arsene Wenger in the transfer market.

Arsenal's title rivals are completing big-money moves left, right and centre, but splashing the cash has never really been Wenger's way. Nevertheless, next on the Gunners boss's wishlist is Thomas Lemar, but that deal appears dead in the water as Monaco continue to insist the 21-year-old isn't for sale.

With that in mind, here are five alternatives Arsenal could be looking at...

1. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)

The 26-year-old was a slight disappointment last year, but he still registered 10 goals and five assists in all competitions

Mahrez finds himself in limbo at present. The Algerian wouldn't have anticipated still being at Leicester after handing in a transfer request in May, but as yet no team has matched the Foxes' £50m valuation and manager Craig Shakespeare has even hinted that he could stay put.

The 26-year-old was a slight disappointment last year, but he still registered 10 goals and five assists in all competitions. Roma have tabled a bid and Tottenham have also been mentioned as a potential destination, but Arsenal would perhaps be the best fit for the tricky wideman – and according to reports, it's his preferred destination. With his proven Premier League pedigree, Mahrez would be a relatively low-risk acquisition.

2. Felipe Anderson (Lazio)

Carrasco has shown himself to be a dynamic, skilful forward in his two seasons at Atletico Madrid

Talk of Anderson moving to the Premier League has died down in the last 12 months or so, with Louis van Gaal's Manchester United heavily linked before that. Four goals and nine assists last term serve as evidence of his productivity in the final third, while his importance to Lazio was underlined by the fact he was involved in all but two Serie A games.

The Brazilian admitted in June that he "dreams" of moving to Old Trafford, but he'd presumably be open to an Emirates switch too. A star performer for the Biancocelesti on his day, Anderson would likely be the cheapest option on this list.

3. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)

Four goals and nine assists last term serve as evidence of his productivity in the final third

A former Monaco player himself and still only 23, Carrasco has shown himself to be a dynamic, skilful forward in his two seasons at Atletico Madrid. Capable of playing on the left, right or even through the middle, the Belgium international contributed 10 goals and four assists to his side's attacking efforts last campaign.

Atletico's transfer ban means they're unlikely to part with Carrasco this window, but every player has his price. Vitolo is set to join Diego Simeone's charges in January, moreover, which could open the door for Arsenal to try their luck with Atletico's No.10. 

4. Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen)

Still only 21, Brandt's stock will only rise further in 2017/18, so now's the time to grab him

Bayer Leverkusen endured a disastrous 2016/17 campaign, only just staving off relegation in the final weeks of the season. Brandt was frequently a lone plus point at the BayArena, with his excellent performances reportedly having caught the attentions of Jurgen Klopp - as well as Germany boss Joachim Low, who has an embarrassment of riches to call upon ahead of Russia 2018.

Still only 21, Brandt's stock will only rise further in 2017/18 - so now's the time to grab him. The guarantee of a starting spot at Arsenal should be enough to assuage fears that a move away from Leverkusen could jeopardise his World Cup chances.

5. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)

Local lad Insigne has been a favourite of Napoli fans ever since his breakout season in 2012/13, but it was only last term that he completely won over his doubters outside the Stadio San Paolo. The 26-year-old was directly involved in 27 of his side's goals in Serie A, as the free-scoring Partenopei challenged Juventus and Roma for the Scudetto.

Diego Maradona, Naples' favourite son, said that Insigne could have his No.10 shirt "if he scores more goals [for Napoli] than me". With 49 to his name already, a move away could be the only thing that stops the diminutive attacker overtaking El Pibe de Oro. After supposedly weighing up a £33m bid back in March, Arsenal would be wise to renew their interest in Insigne before the window closes at the end of August.

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