Arsenal are once again kicking the tires on a transfer move for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar. Per ESPNFC, the Gunners have yet to make a formal bid and need to sell another midfielder before they can submit an offer. But the suggestion is that if (when) they do, an offer is likely forthcoming. Reports have Lyon willing to accept an offer as low as €25M.
The Gunners were first linked to Aouar last summer, but they were nowhere near Lyon’s €60M valuation and only bid once at €35M. Some thought Arsenal would be back in for Aouar in the January window, but Edu & Co. opted for a loan move for Martin Ødegaard instead. For what it’s worth, Aouar reportedly had his sights set on a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona in the winter window.
That interest never really materialized (and still hasn’t). What remains, apparently, is Aouar’s desire for a move away from Lyon, and the lack of European football at the Emirates this season is not a dealbreaker. According to ESPN, he has a handful of suitors beyond Arsenal, including PSG and a club in Spain. Reports out of England have Tottenham recently joining the race for his signature as well.
Arsenal are working to transform their midfield this summer. They have already loaned Matteo Guendouzi to Marseille with an obligation to buy. Granit Xhaka is reportedly headed to Roma — that’s the move it seems like needs to happen for Arsenal to have the funds and space to bid on Aouar. The Gunners are also expected to sell Héctor Bellerín and some or all off Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, and Eddie Nketiah.
Aouar, 23, would be an excellent signing for Arsenal. He’s the creative attacking midfielder that the club desperately needs to play alongside Emile Smith Rowe. He tallied four goals and eight assists last season for a Lyon side that just missed out on the Champions League. Arsenal are fortunate Lyon missed out on CL qualification — if they hadn’t Aouar’s price would be well beyond the Gunners’ means.
But they didn’t qualify, and the dire financial straits in Ligue Un are putting even more pressure on Lyon to sell. That he’s a wantaway player isn’t helping the French club, either. There’s a TON of value to be had in transfers with continental clubs this window, French clubs in particular, and Houssem Aouar is case in point. Look at this radar comparison by Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) of Aouar and David Silva.
I'm not saying this is how it will turn out but Aouar's profile doesn't seem that different than David Silva, except that they kick with different feet. pic.twitter.com/dI2b0F0Wpq— Scott “says soccer” Willis (@oh_that_crab) July 9, 2021
I was disappointed (but understood) when Arsenal didn’t buy Aouar last summer because the price and the money weren’t right. It would be borderline criminal mismanagement not to be in for Houssem Aouar at €25M. The one thing, beyond the usual impediments to a transfer like price, personal terms, etc., that might get in the way of this move is the rumblings about potential agent’s fees and other extracurriculars that may have to be part of any deal for him. Beyond that, Arsenal should give it their all to make the move happen.