Arsenal are trying to build their squad out further and have their sights set on Lyon starlet Houssem Aouar.
Various reports have suggested that Arsenal are negotiating with Lyon in order to try and make the deal happen. Lyon reportedly want around €50-55 million whereas Arsenal are hoping to conclude the transfer for closer to €45m and the bonuses could be the key factor in the deal.
Aouar is 22 and has three full seasons as a Lyon starter under his belt. He was part of the team that made it all the way to the Champions League semi-finals last season, knocking out Juventus and Manchester City in the process, remember those two clubs for later.
- Transfer news LIVE - Sancho latest, Aouar to Arsenal, Cuisance having medical
- 'I don't like it at all' - Van de Beek's agent hits out at Man Utd
- Aston Villa sign Barkley on loan from Chelsea
It is reported that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta sees the Frenchman as the crucial piece to solving his puzzle. Julien Laurens at ESPN reports that Arteta has been enamoured with Aouar since watching the midfielder run the show during Lyon’s 2-1 win at the Etihad in 2018 when Arteta had to stand in for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola who had a touchline ban. As Arsenal fans will know only too well they have been linked to Aouar, along with players like Thomas Partey, for a long time without any real movement in the deal.
However it finally seems as if progress is being made and with the window set to close sooner rather than later time is running out so it’s now or never.
In order to get some more information on Aouar if the move to Arsenal is going to happen we got in contact with Martin Mosnier from Eurosport France for the expert view.
Houssem Aouar will reluctantly join Arsenal – Euro Papers
What kind of player is Aouar?
“For me, Aouar is a playmaker.” Mosnier says.
“He is the kind of player who makes things happen.
“What I like about him is his ability to keep the ball, move the ball forward and find the right pass.”
Houssem AOUAR of Olympique Lyonnais during the Ligue 1 match between Bordeaux and Lyon on September 11, 2020 in Bordeaux, France
Image credit: Getty Images
What are Aouar’s strengths?
“He is not a big scorer (134 games with Lyon, 24 goals) but what immediately stands out is Aouar’s poise in possession, both in receiving the ball and distribution.
“He possesses a natural rhythm. He is a strong dribbler. Everything is quick and he's always moving. And he always finds the right pass at the right time.”
What players would you compare him to?
"Andres Iniesta or David Silva."
If he’s so good why is he leaving?
“Lyon have to sell a big player: Either Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele or Aouar.
“Aouar has the greatest value of those three so he is the main candidate for a departure.”
Lyon are under pressure to sell
Image credit: Getty Images
And are Arsenal his first choice?
“He is okay to join Arsenal but prefers Juventus or Manchester City (because of the Champions League).”
View from Italy
Eurosport Italy's Davide Bighiani: "Juventus have always had an interest in Aouar, since 2018, but it has been quite difficult for them to reach an agreement with Lyon in the last few days of the window.
"The Bianconeri still have plenty of midfielders and are now also trying to give away some of them (i.e. Douglas Costa).
"It seems that even if they find a way to sell, they're not going to buy anyone else. Maybe the player has been offered to Juventus, but there’s nothing more to it now."
It sounds as if Arsenal fans should be pretty excited about the possibility of Aouar joining. He definitely seems like a player that they may not have been able to sign were it not for the Covid-19 situation.
Obviously it’s a bit of a concern that Arsenal weren’t his first-choice, and it’s something that has been reported before. The Champions League factor is understandable whilst it’s also been suggested that he would be keen to play for Andrea Pirlo at Juventus.
Recently Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport tweeted to say that Juventus have got back in contact with Lyon to enquire 1) what price they would want for Aouar and 2) how far along the negotiations with Arsenal are.
After all Lyon have already brought in his replacement so now the clock is ticking, and after the announcement of Lucas Paqueta their president Jean-Michel Aulas said that there were multiple big clubs interested and at the moment no-one was offering what they wanted.
"We know that three big clubs are interested in him," he said. "Two in the short-term, one in the long-term. Not much has happened. All the clubs can’t give us financially what Lyon wants."
The key now will be for Arsenal to move quickly to snuff out any chance that Aouar goes elsewhere. If they can land him it could have a huge impact on their hopes for finishing in the top four.