Arsenal’s hope for a Houssem Aouar transfer took a hit today with Lyon’s sporting director Juninho shutting down any move that uses Matteo Guendouzi as a make-good. Juninho told a French radio show “[Guendouzi] is a great player but he is the wrong profile. We are not interested in that at all.”
So as with Thomas Partey (for whom the Gunners also tried to swing a Guendouzi + cash move), it looks as if Arsenal will have to pay full retail. Aouar is valued somewhere north of €45M, and the Gunners almost certainly don’t have that kind of cash lying around, especially after the Gabriel Magalhães signing.
Arsenal will need to sell to buy, and it looks as if Juninho is trying to drive up the price for his young star midfielder, which doesn’t bode well for the Gunners. On that same radio show, he mentioned interest from Manchester City and PSG. Aouar has also been linked to Juventus and reportedly would prefer a move to the Italian side.
The Gunners have valuable assets, but so far, nobody has come in with “knock your socks off” offers. PSG underbid for Hector Bellerin and were rejected. Teams have been sniffing around Alexandre Lacazette, but so far, there haven’t been reports of firm offers. Emi Martinez might be approaching “take the money and run territory,” however. After having an initial bid rejected, Aston Villa have reportedly come back with a second offer worth close to £20M.
A Matteo Guendouzi sale could also generate some cash, but there doesn’t appear to be much interesting the young midfielder. Perhaps his disciplinary issues and standing at Arsenal are keeping clubs away.
Circling back to Aouar — I don’t see a move to Arsenal in the cards unless something significant changes i.e. the Gunners bring in £25M-plus from player sales. The club just doesn’t have the cash right now. That Juninho is trying to drive up interest is intriguing. It could be nothing more than a sporting director trying to increase his player’s valuation. Or it could be a sign that Aouar is headed somewhere, and Juninho is trying to squeeze every penny out of the move.