Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas believes Arsenal do not have the funds in order to pay for £54m-rated target Houssem Aouar as he tells his star midfielder that ‘it may be best to stay’ in France
- ‘The best thing would be to stay with us,’ Lyon president tells Houssem Aouar
- Central midfielder, 22, made 25 appearances for Lyon in Ligue 1 last season
- Arsenal have already offered Matteo Guendouzi to Lyon in a part exchange
- French club insist their player will not leave for less than a whopping £54million
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has taunted Arsenal over their pursuit of midfielder Houssem Aouar, claiming the Gunners lack the financial firepower to do a deal.
Arsenal are desperate to strengthen in central midfield, with Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi both out of favour.
The north London club have made Lyon’s Aouar and Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey their principal targets this summer, but have apparently made little progress, with both clubs setting eye-watering prices for their assets.
Houssem Aouar has been a key target for Arsenal as they seek to strengthen in midfield
At Lyon, Aulas is demanding £54million for Aouar, a French Under 21 international, and Atletico are asking for £45m for Partey.
Aouar, 22, was a mainstay of a Lyon side that only managed a seventh-place finish in Ligue 1 last season, following French football’s suspension due to coronavirus.
French media suggest Aouar, who made 25 appearances out of 28 Ligue 1 games last term, may be open to a move to England, but he would prefer to go to a team built to win the Champions’ League.
Jean-Michel Aulas does not believe Arsenal have the money to meet the asking price for Aouar
‘Financially, Arsenal are like everyone else (in a tricky spot),’ Aulas was quoted as saying in the French publication, Le Progres. ‘And Houssem could say to himself that the best thing would be to stay with us.’
Aulas has been determined to hang on to Aouar during the transfer window, along with Lyon’s other star players, Moussa Dembele and Memphis Depay.
And he added: ‘From the start I said that we would not lose the three players announced every day in the newspapers.’
Arsenal know they need to sell, or at least move some players out on loan, in order to buy and they have already offered Guendouzi to Lyon and Torreira to Atletico as part of any deals, but neither club has shown interest.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been seeking to bolster his midfield this summer r
Something has to give if any business is to be transacted before the October 5 transfer deadline.
The first move in that process may be about to happen with Torreira reported to be close to making a loan move to Atletico, although it is not linked to Partey coming to north London.
It is a complex picture, made even murkier by the news that Jorginho has now emerged as a new midfield target for manager Mikel Arteta.