Date published: Saturday 3rd October 2020 9:35
Arsenal look to have taken a significant step closer to landing Houssem Aouar after Lyon soften their stance over the player.
Aouar is believed to be Mikel Arteta’s No.1 target. The Gunners are believed to have had two bids turned down for the 22-year-old, with the latest believed to be around £32m.
That was branded “timid” by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, who claimed: “We felt like either they didn’t consider the fact that this is a player in the French national team.
“So it was not an offer that was even susceptible to making us consider a sale.”
Lyon wanted around £55m for the France international at the start of the transfer window. However, they were said to have lowered that asking price last week to nearer £46m.
Arsenal, however, appear to have seen their approach pay off with reports now suggesting a chance of stance again from Lyon.
According to L’Equipe, Aulas has now softened his stance entirely with a new train of thought.
As per the paper, the Lyon chief is now willing to sanction Aouar’s departure on an initial loan. They state, to guarantee his price, Aulas will let the classy midfielder depart if Arsenal agree to a big-money obligation to buy next summer.
That option would be perfect for the Gunners as it allows much more time to generate the required funds.
L’Equipe now state there is a growing possibility that Aouar will be presented as an Arsenal player before Monday’s deadline.
There is a small setback for Arsenal in that Lyon’s option to offer Aouar on loan has also alerted Real Madrid.
Their manager Zinedine Zidane is also said to be an admirer of his countryman and sees him as a long-term successor to Toni Kroos.
PSG are also said to be keen, with sporting director Leonardo calling Aouar a “dream signing”.
Lyon, however, would prefer to sell to an overseas suitor rather than strengthen a domestic rival.
Aouar’s preference is said to be Arsenal, having reportedly agreed personal terms last month.
Aulas and Lyon have already signed Aouar’s replacement. Lucas Paqueta signed from AC Milan on a five-year deal on Tuesday.
Marseille in Guendouzi approach
Meanwhile, Arsenal have been given fresh hope of finding a buyer for Matteo Guendouzi.
Arteta has, so far, failed to move the midfielder on, hindering efforts to bring in Aouar or Thomas Partey.
The 21-year-old Frenchman looked destined for big things last season when he became a mainstay under Unai Emery.
However, Guendouzi fell foul of Arteta and was reportedly placed on the transfer list as a result of his misdemeanours.
Finding a new home for the player has, though, proved tricky.
Efforts to include him as part of a swap deal for Partey and Aouar have both been met with rejection.
Valencia and Villarreal have also been mentioned as suitors, though neither deal came to fruition.
However, French outlet Foot Mercato claims a Ligue 1 giant have now made contact with Arsenal about Guendouzi.