Neil Humphreys: Lemar too classy for fading Gunners
French ace's wonder strike proves he was never going to join Arsenal
Watch Thomas Lemar's extraordinary first goal again.
Find the France-Holland highlights on TV. Google it. Ogle it. Salivate over it.
This was one of the international goals of the season from a kid who could grow into a man for all seasons.
But they won't be Arsenal seasons. Lemar's career looks too bright for the dim-witted Gunners. His future doesn't gel with a manager stuck in the past.
According to reports, Arsene Wenger covered France's World Cup qualifier yesterday morning (Singapore time) for a French TV station. Just picture that surreal scene for a moment.
As the English Premier League's transfer window was about to close on the most idiotic spending spree in history, Wenger was sitting with a microphone, commentating on Les Bleus' 4-0 swagger past Dutch misfits.
The Arsenal manager watched his primary transfer target score twice.
But it was Lemar's first goal, an old-school scorcher, that really burned Wenger. It humiliated Arsenal and made a mockery of their clumsy transfer window manoeuvring.
To recap the madness briefly, the Gunners had already sold a disgruntled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to rivals Liverpool. The next stage of their plan was to get rid of another restless talent, Alexis Sanchez, to Manchester City.
(Thomas Lemar’s) goal was a checklist of all the things the Gunners can no longer claim to be: fast, fearless, inventive and a joy to behold.
With the cash accrued from both deals, Arsenal were then ready to pay Monaco a reported £92 million (S$161m) for Lemar.
But each stage of this dastardly scheme was contingent upon the previous stages all succeeding. Apart from Oxlade-Chamberlain's sale, nothing else came off.
Liverpool poached the Ox, leaving the Gunners looking like headless chickens.
Never mind the medical examinations and signatures required in the window's final hours, Lemar was already on international duty with France.
Arsenal's leading negotiators are wasted in North London. They should consider less challenging work, like Brexit and North Korea.
Perhaps the truth is simpler and more damning for Wenger's outfit.
Lemar was never going to the Gunners. One swish of his left foot was enough to confirm his unsuitability for a decaying club.
When a defensive header bounced towards him in the 73rd minute, there appeared to be little danger for the Dutch. Lemar was 20 metres away and not quite in the right position when the ball flew his way.
But the 21-year-old bent his body to unleash a half-volley that must have kicked Wenger where it really hurts.
Lemar's aim was true, his vision exemplary, the technique utterly flawless.
His goal was a checklist of all the things the Gunners can no longer claim to be: fast, fearless, inventive and a joy to behold.
Rumour has it that Lemar rejected Arsenal's flirting in the hope that Juergen Klopp might arrive at the last minute, clutching a bunch of flowers and a big, fat cheque.
Lemar's heart and head both said Klopp's Liverpool rather than Wenger's Arsenal, hinting at a level-headed maturity beyond his years.
Both Lemar and substitute Kylian Mbappe scored in France's demolition of Holland.
They already look at home among potential World Cup winners.
Both were linked to Arsenal in the hysterical British media, which now reads like a bad joke.
While Mbappe's head has been turned by the glittering petrodollars at Paris Saint-Germain, Lemar can afford to continue his education at Monaco, knowing that his value is likely to soar after the World Cup.
For now, Lemar appears to be on the right side of history. He's exactly where he needs to be for both club and country.
In the meantime, expect Wenger to grumble on about the transfer window's obscene fees and the vulgar demands of greedy, young men.
But the beleaguered Frenchman is only deluding himself.
Lemar had no intention of joining the Gunners. He knew it, the suits at Monaco knew it and disillusioned Arsenal supporters almost certainly knew it.
If you still need further convincing, watch Lemar's wonderful strike one more time.
It's the kind of goal born in France, but no longer made at Arsenal.