In the past few days, the Gunners have bolstered their both their defensive options and midfield ranks with the signings of Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes and midfielder Dani Ceballos, who has signed on loan for the second season in succession from Real Madrid.
Despite Ceballos’ return, Arsenal remain keen on adding another central-midfielder to their ranks, with the likes of Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid, Houssem Aouar of Lyon and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho all being linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.
Whilst Partey would offer strength and steel to the Gunners’ midfield, Aouar would offer creative flair when attacking.
With that in mind, here is a round-up of everything we know so far about the Frenchman’s future and Arsenal’s interest in him.
According to French outlet L’Equipe, Arsenal made an offer of cash plus Matteo Guendouzi for the 22-year-old midfielder last week.
The report claims Arteta is believed to be a big admirer of the player’s talents, and it was director Edu who made the offer verbally over the telephone.
It is also claimed that Lyon rejected the offer as they only want cash for the player and do not feel that they need to add an additional midfielder.
Lyon sporting director Juninho confirmed after the club’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich that there will be departures this summer.
“The aim now is to continue working, immediately with Ligue 1,” Juninho, whose Lyon will not feature in the 2020-21 Champions League after finishing seventh at the time of Ligue 1 concluding due to the coronavirus pandemic, told RMC Sport.
“There are no presents. We will have to work. If we continue like this, we will be back in this competition. When you are well paid, you need motivation every day, we are going to concentrate on Ligue 1. There are the basics.
“There will be departures, but I am not worried. When you have players who play very well in a competition like this, like Moussa and Houssem…We will have to show the same spirit to be back in the Champions League next season.”
What Guardiola previously said about Aouar
Speaking during the 2018/19 season, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola heaped praise on Aouar after his side drew 2-2 with Lyon in the group stages.
“Houssem Aouar is a very good player. He is incredible,” Guardiola said.
“We talk a lot about (Tanguy) Ndombele, but Aouar is also excellent. He’s always very calm with the ball at his feet, with an excellent technical quality.
“Lyon really has a very good team. There are young people full of quality and I think the team is in place tactically.
“I think we can congratulate them, we have had absences tonight, but we have to congratulate them.”
Arsenal face competition to seal transfer
If Arsenal are to stand any chance of landing Aouar this summer they are not only going to have to cut their cloth accordingly to raise the funds to get a deal over the line, but they will also have to fend off interest from Premier League rivals Manchester City.
It is reported by ESPN that the Etihad Stadium outfit are keen on landing the 22-year-old this summer, with Guardiola, as outlined above, being a big fan of him.
Should the two clubs get themselves into a battle to bring the Frenchman to the Premier League, they will have to match Lyon’s valuation of €50million.
Aouar ‘favours’ Juventus
According to French outlet Le10 Sport, Aouar would prefer to join Juventus over any other team.
Juve have been credited with an interest in the player after seeing his talent first hand.
The midfielder was instrumental as the Ligue 1 side knocked the Italian champions out in the Champions League last-16.
Arsenal to make move
Arsenal are keen to add Aouar to their squad this summer, with Mikel Arteta and the club’s board said to be ‘in love’ with the midfielder.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano, who was speaking on the Lee Gunner Youtube channel.
“I think it’s difficult about Auoar, because we were talking about €50 million for Thomas Partey, if we’re speaking about Aouar, we’re around €60 or €70 million si I think it would be so difficult to take Aouar.
“The Arsenal board is in love with Aouar, Mikel Arteta is in love with Aouar, so for sure they will try.”
Arsenal still pursuing transfer
Lyon have slapped a €60million price tag on Aouar this summer in an attempt to fend off interest, according to a report by Foot Mercato in France.
Arsenal, though, have not given up on the prospect of signing the midfielder despite Lyon’s valuation, even though the Gunners have already seen a swap deal knocked back by Lyon.
The Gunners offered the Ligue 1 club Guendouzi as part of a deal to bring Aouar to the Premier League but that was swiftly rejected by last season’s Champions League semi-finalists.
Aouar ‘wants’ Premier League move
Arsenal fans are desperate for the club to add the talented Lyon midfielder to the ranks ahead of the 2020/21 season.
With Fabrizio Romano tweeting that Leeds United are interested in signing Rodrigo de Paul from Udinese, one supporter quizzed the sports journalist if Aouar actually wants to move to the Premier League this summer.
Romano replied: “For sure he wants to move to EPL! But no one has offered €60m yet.”
So, it seems that Arsenal could get their man if they offer Lyon the price they are after.
Manchester City are not exploring a move for Aouar
Manchester City will not be rivalling Arsenal for Aouar’s signature this summer.
That is according to a report by The Athletic, who claim that City are not interested in signing the Frenchman this summer.
This news will be a welcome relief to the Gunners as it means they will have one less club to fend off interest from when trying to land the midfielder.
According to The Athletic, Arsenal are currently in ‘discussions’ to sign Aouar from Lyon.
The Gunners are thought to be on the verge of sealing another loan deal for Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid, but the report claims Mikel Arteta’s side are still keen on landing other central midfielders – including Thomas Partey and Aouar.
Arsenal could fund any potential signings with the sale of Hector Bellerin, with Paris Saint-Germain keen to sign the full-back.
Lyon refuse to rule out sale
Juninho – the Lyon sporting director – has admitted that the French club are refusing to rule out the prospect of selling Aouar, as well as the likes of Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele before the end of the transfer window, despite insisting that they do not intend to sell all three.
Aouar, just like Dembele and Depay, has been heavily linked with an exit from last season’s Uefa Champions League semi-finalists, with all three players attracting interest from clubs across Europe.
Issuing an update, Juninho, as quoted by Goal, said: “It is not planned to sell Houssem, Memphis and Moussa at the same time.
“If that happened, we would look for players of the same level on the market.
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“The departure of the three together is not planned. [But] they attract the market.
“There have been clubs in for Houssem for a long time. Moussa? He is a real goalscorer. There are not many options like him in the market.
“Memphis was unfortunately injured. We tried to extend his contract, the president did everything but he did not want to discuss during this period. In a year, he will be free.
“If we lose quality players, and three is almost impossible, [then] we already have names to replace them. Players of the same level.”