Lyon sporting director Juninho has confirmed he has spoken to his Arsenal counterpart Edu, but the most recent discussions broke down due to the player the Gunners offered in exchange.
Arsenal made a player-plus-cash deal involving unwanted midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, but Lyon were having none of it.
“I get on very well with the Sporting Director (Edu),” Juninho told RMC Sport. “We spoke on the phone. Houssem Aouar is really well liked by Arteta.
“There were some discussions for Mattéo Guendouzi, who is also a good player. He was brought up during the discussion.
“But we don’t need his profile, we were very clear. If it is like that, we are not interested at all, we cut the conversation, that is where things ended.”
Aouar is set to cost upwards of £50million this summer, and the most recent reports suggest Arsenal offered £31million plus Guendouzi.
Clearly, it’s the latter part of the deal that was the problem, so the Gunners will need to offer up another player or find a way to pay the full amount upfront.
Aouar is under contract until 2023, but his nine goals and 10 assists from midfield last season have Arsenal very much interested.
The question is whether the Gunners will stretch to meet Lyon’s asking price, particularly with interest also invested in Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, who looks set to cost £45million.