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If there’s one word that characterises modern-day Arsenal it’s ‘soft’. 

Outplayed and out-thought by newly promoted Brentford on the opening day – conceding a crucial second goal from a long throw – before suffering 2-0 and 5-0 batterings at the hands of Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, no matter how many players they buy, no matter how much they spend, Arsenal still find a way to fold quicker than Superman on laundry day, to quote one of the great thinkers of our time. 

“(Arsenal) have been lacking aggression for years,” the always outspoken Roy Keane seethed on Sky Sports last year, detailing a problem that has been hanging over the Emirates since the departure of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva more than a decade ago. 

“There’s still a softness to them. Over the last few years, that’s been one of the criticisms towards Arsene Wenger’s teams. 

“Technically very good but, when the going gets tough, a lot of their players go missing. I still think that’s an issue with this team. I think there’s a softness to them.” 

Your Club’s WORST Debut This Season

Your Club’s WORST Debut This Season

And on the evidence of the past 18 months or so, Houssem Aouar would be part of the problem rather than the solution.

In fact, Lyon’s France international playmaker shares a lot in common with the club that finished eighth in the Premier League last season – a tendency to underperform when the going gets tough and an infuriating inability to string a series of performances together – the epitome of style over substance.

Lyon star Houssem Aouar would be the wrong man at the wrong time for Arsenal

According to The Sun, Arsenal held talks with their long-time, £25 million-rated target in the summer transfer window.

But Mikel Arteta needs leaders – not someone in danger of losing his starting place in France’s fourth-best side amid concerns over attitude, application and end product.

Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

“If he wants to become a starter again, he has to show (coach Peter) Bosz that when he gets into a game, he really gets into it,” journalist Daniel Riolo said of a man who began just 23 Ligue 1 matches last season.  

“Because, with the missed opportunities, we have the impression he’s soft.” 

That word again. Imagine what Roy Keane would have to say about him?

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

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