Arsenal plot bid for ‘dream’ target they will ‘try hard’ to sign once Gunners confirm exit

Arsenal could make a bid for their “dream” transfer target Houssem Aouar once Lucas Torreira’s move to Torino is confirmed, reckons French football expert Julien Laurens. Aouar has emerged as a target for the Gunners with Mikel Arteta eager to strengthen in the middle.

The Spanish coach would like to add Lyon creator Aouar and Atletico Madrid holder Thomas Partey to his options to inject extra steel, strength, skill and vision into his midfield.

But Laurens insists it is 22-year-old France international Aouar who Arteta is dreaming of signing, despite re-signing Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid to play in a creative role.

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Reports in France have claimed Arsenal are readying a bid in excess of £36million for Aouar, who it has been claimed Lyon would want around £54m for.

And Laurens believes the north London outfit – having also signed the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian – will make a concerted effort to try to sign Aouar.

But he does not expect an official bid until Torreira’s £22m return to Italy is confirmed, with the Uruguayan set to join Torino on loan and the deal including an obligation to make the switch permanent in 12 months’ time.

Arsenal also offloaded back-up goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez this week, with the Argentine joining Aston Villa for a deal worth up to £20m as he seeks guaranteed starts between the sticks.

“I think they still need two midfielders, that’s what Mikel Arteta wants,” Laurens told ESPN FC.

“If they can get some money by selling first, Emi Martinez has gone to Aston Villa, Lucas Torreira will probably go to Torino as well.

“That will bring some funds in to try to spend on Houssem Aouar.

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“Aouar is the dream really for them, I don’t know if they will be able to pull this one off but they will certainly try hard, especially once they’ve sold Torreira and Martinez.

“Thomas Partey as well has been linked with them the whole summer. I don’t know if they can do both Partey and Aouar but certainly two midfielders is what they need.”

Premier League commentator Ian Darke, also talking to ESPN FC, thinks however that Arsenal would benefit more from bringing in a dominant figure like Partey.

Arsenal have long been criticised for lacking a strong enough spine but the 27-year-old Ghanaian would give them extra bite and cover defensively.

“I think they need a little bit of steel in the middle of the pitch, so I think Partey would be a very good signing for Arsenal,” Darke said.

“I know they’re very keen, but they can’t seem to get that deal done.

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“They’ve got Ceballos back of course from Real Madrid, and he did well in the back end of last season, but in a more creative way.

“Both are good players, but I think of the two, I’d say Partey.”

Arsenal meanwhile return to action on Saturday with their first home match of the new Premier League season against London rivals West Ham (8pm kick-off).

The Gunners opened their top-flight campaign with a 3-0 win at Fulham last weekend with Alexandre Lacazette, debutant Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all on the scoresheet.

Willian notched all three assists on his first competitive start for the club and should keep his spot over Nicolas Pepe against the Hammers as a result.

Lacazette is also likely to keep his place after netting in the season opener and has three goals in five previous appearances against West Ham, coming off the bench to score the winner in the last meeting between the two clubs back in March.

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