Arsenal were obviously very interested in signing Houssem Aouar from Olympique Lyon this summer, and it’s easy to see the reasons for it. The 22-year-old attacking midfielder boasts considerable work-rate and tremendous skill, and would likely provide the team with additional creative sparks, helping the already formidable forward line shine even more.
Two bids for his services have been submitted and rejected by the Ligue 1 side during the summer transfer window, and Aouar stayed in Lyon. As he revealed to French outlet Telefoot (via the Mirror), he doesn’t mind staying there for another season; he is happy in the city and the club he calls his own. He also likes working with sporting director Juninho Pernambucano, with whom he spoke several times about a proposed departure which so far hasn’t come to pass.
In the end, Arsenal turned their attention fully towards obtaining the services of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid and opted to trigger his €50 million (£45m) release clause, after the Spanish club made it clear it was the only way to get the deal done. The Ghana international is, of course, a different type of player, one which will help the defensive stability of the team with his strong presence in the middle of the park, rather than offer much going forward. It seems that ultimately, signing both him and Aouar proved too much of a financial strain for the club under the current circumstances.
Meanwhile, former Spurs player David Ginola told Sky Sports that he feels Aouar to be a player Arsenal fans would love to watch in their team, adding that he would represent a perfect alternative to Mesut Ozil, who has obviously been completely frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s plans.
Speaking of Ozil, not only is he getting paid £350,000 per week, but according to The Athletic, the club were obliged to pay him a ‘loyalty bonus’ of around £8m at the end of September.