Arsenal have not yet given up hope of prising Thomas Lemar from Monaco but negotiations have proven far more protracted than first anticipated.
The Gunners remain intent on adding an attacking midfielder as well as a deeper central player, with Jean Seri featuring among the options for the latter position.
Suggestions Monaco will seek £80m are extreme but the Gunners face paying a premium for Lemar and another club-record fee would need to be given to the Ligue 1 side for the player just a month after signing Alexandre Lacazette for £52m from Lyon.
Rival interest from Barcelona has complicated the outlook on a transfer too, with Arsenal now up against a club armed with the world-record fee Neymar attracted when leaving in a £198m deal to PSG.
With Monaco digging their heels in over the player’s future and Barca registering their interest, talk of a move for Lemar has cooled and Arsenal are willing to bide their time up to the closure of the transfer window to seal the transfer.
Should Lemar stay at Monaco, here are five viable alternatives for Wenger.
The alternative – Lucas Moura
The Brazilian has emerged as a potential alternative to Lemar in the wake of his international compatriot Neymar’s arrival at the Parc des Princes and he finds himself behind the likes of Angel di Maria and Julian Draxler in the pecking order too.
Arsene Wenger will have seen first hand the attacking influence of Lucas first hand after the winger’s late intervention in the Champions League group stage game at the Emirates last season and though he operates primarily from the right he is adaptable enough to work across the Arsenal front three.
Lucas needs to become a regular starter having been left out of Brazil’s national squad for the past 12 months and his speed, dribbling ability and eye for goal would all be welcome additions to Arsenal’s frontline.
He started the charm offensive last year in the build-up to the game in Paris last season by saying: “The Champions League is coming and it starts with a tough match. We’ll play a very strong Arsenal team. We’re looking forward to it. Even against Saint-Etienne it was hard not to think of this match.
The French side’s transfer splurge could yet see him play alongside rather than against them.
The fall-back – Riyad Mahrez
The Algerian’s stock nosedived last season after his influential role in Leicester City’s improbable 2015/16 Premier League title win but in the eyes of many Arsenal fans he would be the perfect fit next season.
Mahrez’s future remains unresolved and there is a feeling he is dallying on Roma’s interest in him to ascertain whether or not Arsenal will make their interest concrete with a formal offer.
The Gunners regard Mahrez as a back-up option to Lemar but he has his admirers at the club and Wenger has previously confirmed his interest in the player.
“We have not made a bid for him but personally I like the player, yes,” he said.
“I think he had a huge impact at Leicester when they won the championship, like everybody else.
“It’s been a different season this year but it doesn’t take anything away from his qualities.
“Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet. Not yet means it could happen, it could not happen.”
The dream signing – Ousmane Dembele
Barcelona expect to add Philippe Coutinho and Dembele to their ranks this summer but Arsenal should make themselves part of the conversation for one of the most exciting young talents in French football.
The asking price would appear to rule Arsenal out of the running for the 20-year-old wideman as the German side look to fetch around the €100m mark for his signature.
Dembele is arguably the more exciting talent than Lemar and would be a signing that delivers a statement to their Premier League rivals but is more fanciful than other options.
The gamble – Marco Reus
Reus has yet to secure the transfer many anticipated following his excellent form for Borussia Dortmund as he remains plagued by injury having sustained a cruciate ligament injury during the DFB Pokal final win over Eintracht Frankfurt in May.
Dortmund appear resigned to losing Dembele and that will likely strengthen their stance over Reus but he may be a longer-term option for Arsenal should Alexis Sanchez not sign a new deal and leave for free next summer.
His latest setback means a deal would not happen this summer but if he is able to return to the kind of form which attracted previous interest from Arsenal and delivering at next summer’s World Cup then there may be a temptation on a player who only has two years left to run on his deal.
The wildcard – Yannick Ferreira Carrasco
Similarly to Moura, Arsenal have experienced the Belgian’s quality at close quarters after his devastating breakaway goal in the Champions League second round in the 2014/15 season.
Chelsea and Bayern Munich have been frequently linked this summer but he would perhaps be an ideal fit for the left inside forward position Lemar has seemingly been earmarked for, even if he wouldn’t offer the versatility.
He wouldn’t come cheap and he remains under contract until 2020 with Atletico but he would be well suited to Arsenal given his technical quality.