Lyon just rejected a first bid from Arsenal for the playmaker Houssem Aouar, according to Jean-Michel Aulas, the Ligue 1 club’s president. Aulas just said via his Twitter account that an opening offer from Arsenal, believed to be around £35m, was short of Lyon’s valuation and said he expects Aouar to feature for the club this season.
“For Houssem Arsenal is too far from his value,” Aulas wrote. “We are counting on him to play a great match in Lorient [on Sunday] and lead OL in the CL [Champions League] in the next year.”
Aulas’s words suggest Aouar has his price, but Arsenal will have to increase their offer significantly. The 22-year-old is Mikel Arteta’s top summer target, although the head coach is also eager to add the Atlético Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.
Reports in France say Aouar is keen to make the move but Arsenal will have to raise further funds in order for that to happen. Lucas Torreira, Sead Kolasinac, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are among the players whose potential departures could facilitate new arrivals before the international window closes on 5 October.
There is a sense Arsenal’s move for Aouar could go down to the wire, given its dependence on those outgoings and considering Lyon’s reputation as formidable negotiators.