Mark Ooi provides a detailed scout report about Thomas Lemar, AS Monaco’s playmaking maestro.
After a spectacular 2016/17 campaign, Thomas Lemar has the world at his feet. The Frenchman idolises Andrés Iniesta. With the way he’s been performing, it would not be a surprise to see Thomas Lemar swap the Stade Louis II for Camp Nou and the chance to play alongside his idol in Blaugrana in the near future. As the saying goes, “behind every great man, there is a strong woman”. At Monaco, Kylian Mbappé has stolen all the headlines this season that one could say ─ “behind every Kylian Mbappé, there is a Thomas Lemar”.
Who is Thomas Lemar?
Thomas Lemar was born on 12 November 1995 in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe. After spending his early years with youth clubs in Guadeloupe, including a 7-year spell with Solidarité Scolaire, Lemar joined the academy of French outfit SM Caen in 2010. He was soon playing for the French national youth sides, making his debut for the U17s in 2011. Between 2011 and making his senior international debut, Lemar featured for Les Bleus at U-17, U-18, U-19, U-20, and U-21 level.
After signing his first professional contract with Caen in March 2013, Lemar made his senior debut at club level when he replaced Jérôme Rothen on the opening weekend of the 2013/14 Ligue 2 season. He was used as an off-bench impact player ─ a ‘joker’ ─ by Caen coach Patrice Garande. After helping Caen win promotion to Ligue 1 in 2013/14, Lemar went on the impress in Ligue 1 in 2014/15 ─ albeit still in a ‘joker’ capacity. His performances with Caen impressed sufficiently to earn a €5m move to Monaco in Summer 2015.
Talent Radar Accolades
Since moving to the principality outfit, Lemar has kicked on and become one of the best players in Ligue 1. In his first campaign with Monaco, Lemar was a regular starter. From 34 appearances across all competitions, he scored five goals and assisted another five. This season, 2016/17, he has made a much bigger impact. At the time of writing, Lemar has scored twelve and provided thirteen assists in 48 appearances across all competitions ─ in the UEFA Champions League, Lemar has the impressive statistics of two goals and five assists in ten games. Both Monaco and Thomas Lemar have had a fantastic campaign that saw the Ligue 1 title making its way to the Stade Louis II. Lemar also played a key role in Monaco reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
What is his Style of Play?
Thomas Lemar primarily plays on the left of Leonardo Jardim’s 4-2-2-2. Lemar plays with the freedom to drift inward and link up with the likes of Radamel Falcao, Valère Germain, and Kylian Mbappé. The French playmaker has the technical ability and versatility to play both as a traditional number 10, an out-and-out winger, or an inverted winger/inside forward. It would be a waste to push Lemar into just one role/position, given his ability as a multi-faceted playmaker.
Lemar also has a great partnership with Benjamin Mendy down the ASM left flank. When Lemar drifts infield, he gives Mendy the space and license to burst forward from left-back. When the two combine, it is truly a sight to behold.
What are his Strengths?
An adept set-piece taker for Monaco, he is arguably one of the most complete attacking midfielders of his age. Lemar possesses a great turn of pace. Supremely composed on the ball both in open space and in tight areas, Lemar is comfortable playing the ball with either foot. A peculiar thing to notice is he dribbles with both feet. With his agility, being able to go off in either direction makes neutralising his threat extremely difficult for his opponents.
Thomas Lemar in action during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg against Juventus. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Comfortable and adept at passing both long and short distances, his brilliant technique comes through at set-pieces, his goals and assists, as well as in build-up play with the aforementioned Silva, Falcao, Germain, and Mbappé.
With all his technical skill, it is crucial that Lemar has to necessary footballing intelligence to maximise his talent. He does. He has shown to be more mature than his age (21) suggests. His off-ball runs are often well-timed and productive in aiding Monaco’s attacking moves. On the ball, Lemar picks the right passes and, when on a dribble, knows when to accelerate away from his marker. This ability to create space for himself, as well as get out of tight spaces with the ball, means he is able to frequently impact games with a goal, assist, or pre-assist pass. He is also often fouled as a result of his cunning in tight spaces.
What are his Weaknesses?
At 1.70m and 53kg, Lemar is clearly not the strongest or biggest of players. Aerial duels are a weakness of his game, which is to be expected of a player of his physical stature. An area of his game which could clearly be improved would be his passing accuracy ─ 82.9% according to Whoscored. A player of Lemar’s technique should be logging a higher passing accuracy than that. That said, Lemar does not have any particular weaknesses. With his maturity, one would expect Thomas Lemar to iron out ─ for example, decision-making can always be improved ─ and improve as even the best prospects have to, in order to realise his immense potential.
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A Gegenpressing-loving football fan who, in real life, plays with a languid style like Tom Huddlestone. I have an Arsene Wenger-esque appreciation of young talent and also write for O-Posts and Barça Blaugranes.
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