Some at Arsenal believe Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar has become an affordable addition to their midfield as Ligue 1 staggers beneath a financial crisis, as reported by The Athletic.
That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, a bid is on the way for the France international.
The Gunners did offer £35 million for the silky, skilful Aouar in summer 2020 – a bid Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas publicly rebuffed – but it’s understood the London giants have yet to return to the table.
That’s despite the fact that, with his contract expiring in 2023, Aouar would come much cheaper these days than the likes of James Maddison, the Leicester City talisman valued in excess of £70 million.
In fact, some at London Colney believe Aouar represents an “affordable option”.
Will Arsenal make a new bid for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar?
Lyon announced losses of about £30 million last year, a situation exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic and the collapse of Mediapro’s Ligue 1 TV deal.
Clubs across France have been hit hard, with Bordeaux and Angers facing administrative relegation. Champions Lille, meanwhile, have sold Mike Maignan and Boubakary Soumare to balance the books, with Renato Sanches and Zeki Celik potentially on their way too.
The Athletic, however, suggests Aouar has been placed on the back burner for now as Arsenal chase alternative options.
The 23-year-old endured a difficult season, his assists tally dropping from ten to four in the space of a year. Aouar started just 23 Ligue 1 matches too, with his attitude and motivation questioned in some quarters.
He may be the most ‘affordable’ of Arsenal’s attacking midfield targets – at least in comparison to the likes of Maddison – but a player labelled “fantastic” by Kevin De Bruyne and “excellent” by Lionel Messi has done his hopes of a big-money move to the Premier League no favours by his performances last term.