ARSENAL have launched a £35million bid for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.
The Gunners are lining up the French star, 21, to replace Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates next season.
And boss Arsene Wenger is also closing in on a club record £57m move for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Monaco have rejected Arsenal’s opening £28m bid but are giving serious consideration to their improved offer.
Talks between the two clubs are continuing but no deal has been agreed.
But Arsenal’s move for the left-sided attacking player confirms Wenger is becoming resigned to losing last season’s top-scorer Sanchez.
The Chilean superstar has only one year left on his contract and has refused all of the club’s efforts to get him to extend his stay, including a rumoured offer of £280,000 a week.
And while Wenger has repeatedly insisted that Sanchez will not be sold this summer, the club will not allow him to leave on a free next year.
Wenger has been tracking Lemar for more than two years but failed to react when the player was sold by Caen to Monaco for £4m in 2015.
Lemar’s value has soared after he helped Monaco to win the French title last season as well as reach the Champions League semi-finals.
He scored 14 goals and provided 17 assists on his way to winning his first call-up to the French senior team last year.
And Wenger has decided that Lemar will be a better long-term investment than 26-year-old Riyad Mahrez, who has asked Leicester for a transfer but would cost Arsenal £40m.
Monaco have already sold Bernard Mendy to Manchester City for £43m this summer and are close to completing a £35m deal with Chelsea for Tiemoue Bakayoko.
They are also fighting off world record bids for striker Kylian Mbappe — from the Gunners among others — and are under no pressure to cash in on Lemar.
But Arsenal are confident of getting the deal completed despite their continuing interest in Lacazette.
Atletico Madrid made bids for both Lacazette and Lemar earlier this summer but were forced to end their interest when they were banned by Fifa from making any signings during this summer’s transfer window.