Manchester City are ready to rival Arsenal in the race to sign highly-rated Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar with the club reportedly huge admirers of the in-demand star.
Aouar is attracting interest from across Europe following his performances during Lyon’s surprise run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, the 22-year-old excellent in the French side’s victories over Juventus and Manchester City to reach the last four.
The midfielder’s displays have now seen Aouar linked with joining Pep Guardiola at the Etihad, the Spaniard identifying the youngster as a player who can add to his creative options following the departure of David Silva to Real Sociedad.
According to the Mirror, Guardiola is a ‘huge admirer’ of the playmaker and news of City’s interest will come as a major blow to Arsenal, who have held talks with Lyon over a proposed deal for a player who earned a first senior call up for France last week, only to withdraw after testing positive for coronavirus.
Arsenal had hoped to strike a deal that would see Matteo Guendouzi head in the opposite direction, though Lyon are believed to have no interest in the 21-year-old who has been deemed surplus to requirements at the Emirates.
Aouar – who is comfortable playing centrally or in a wide role – scored nine goals and provided a further 10 assists last season and is believed to be valued at around £54m by the Ligue 1 outfit, a figure similar to the one that took Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon to Tottenham last summer.
Arsenal’s finances are limited this summer, however, and the Gunners will need to raise funds through player sales with the likes of Guendouzi, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis all available for transfer, whilst speculation continues to link Hector Bellerin with Paris Saint-Germain.
The latter is an important member of Arteta’s squad, but with sufficient depth in the form of Cedric and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Spaniard may be allowed to leave to fund moves for Aouar and Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.