ARSENAL CLOSING IN ON THIRD SUMMER SIGNING
Arsenal are moving closer to signing Lyon star Houssem Aouar, with the deal likely to go ahead before Monday’s 11pm transfer deadline.
The Frenchmen had a breakout season last year and was an integral part of Lyon reaching the Semi-Finals of the Champions League.
The Gunners have been chasing the 22-year old the entire transfer window, and it finally looks like talks behind the scenes are getting somewhere, with the player reportedly agreeing to join the club.
That just leaves the two clubs to agree on a fee. The midfielder is currently valued at £44.5 million by Transfermarkt, with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas confirming in an interview with Canal+ that Arsenal’s first bid had been rejected - thought to have been around £32 million.
Lyon are notoriously tough to negotiate with, but the club are reportedly keen to cash in on Aouar due to the club's finances being weakened by the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic, and are likely to accept an Arsenal bid of £36 million or above.
Paris Saint-Germain have held talks with Lyon about the midfielder, but are unlikely to be able to highjack the deal. The Paris side cannot afford to spend too much due to being in a tricky position in regards to Financial Fair Play. Aouar also came through the Lyon academy, so selling him to an arch-rival would likely cause Lyon a lot of fan backlash.
It is unknown if Arsenal will have to move players on to seal the deal, but with Lucas Torreira and William Saliba both likely to leave soon on loan, and Sead Kolasinac close to an £11 million move to Bayern Leverkusen, finances shouldn’t be a problem.
How would Aouar fit in at Arsenal
Aouar is the perfect midfielder for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, being both a great attacking midfielder and having a high defensive work rate. The Frenchmen will likely replace Dani Ceballos in Arsenal’s starting line-up. The Spaniard got 2 goals and 2 assists in all competitions last season, compared to Aouar’s 9 goals and 10 assists.
The 22-year-old possesses fantastic technical ability and vision, with his balls in behind causing havoc against Manchester City. One can only imagine how effective the midfielder would be having the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in front of him.
Aouar is used to playing as a midfield two, with a back five behind him, exactly how Arsenal play at the moment. Not many attacking midfielders fit in such a system due to the high defensive demands, but the 22-year old has flourished at Lyon.
He can also play as a number ten if required, which suits Arsenal as Arteta’s other preferred formation is 4-2-3-1.
The deal isn’t over the line yet but should be completed this weekend. With the signing of Aouar, along with Willian and Gabriel this summer, Arsenal fans have plenty of reasons to be excited as Arteta’s side takes shape.