Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has cranked up the pressure on Arsenal by claiming “three big clubs” are chasing Houssem Aouar.
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 Aulas, who claimed: “We felt like either they didnt 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 are said to have lowered that asking price and would now accept closer to £46m.
Aulas was asked what Lyons asking price for Aouar was, whether it was £36m or £46m.
Aulas did not exactly answer the question fully, but said: It is certainly more than the first number that you mentioned.”
Now though with five days remaining of the transfer window the stakes have been raised and Aulas has gone public with interest in the playmaker from a trio of clubs.
“We know that three big clubs are interested in him. Two in the short-term, one in the long-term,” he said. “Not much has happened. All the clubs cant give us financially what Lyon wants.”
Aulas and Lyon have already signed Aouar’s replacement. Lucas Paqueta signed from AC Milan on a five-year deal on Tuesday.
“I was eager to show that we could make big signings and to be constructive in building the future of OL,” he said. “We want a competitive team. We were just in the semi-final of the Champions League. We are only at the start of the league season. It was important to make a statement and show that we were in line with our goals.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal have been given fresh hope of finding a buyer for Matteo Guendouzi after an approach was made to the club.
Mikel Arteta is still hoping to bolster his midfielder before the transfer window shuts, with Aouar and Thomas Partey in his sights.
Arsenal could now be set to offload unwanted midfielder Guendouzi.
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 Marseille have now made contact with Arsenal about Guendouzi.
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