Arsenal have been told to get a deal for Houssem Aouar done by the close of play on Friday or they will not be landing their top target. The Gunners have seen two bids for the 22-year-old rejected already with the French side holding out for a £50million fee.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas spoke yesterday at the unveiling of new signing Lucas Paqueta, who has joined from AC Milan for £19m.
He warned that any players in the squad for his weekend’s clash with Marseille will not be sold, even though the official transfer deadline is October 5.
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“From Friday evening, when Rudi [Garcia] will choose his squad vs Marseille, there will be no departures,” Aulas said. “We could see ourselves lose two players.”
Lyon are expecting Arsenal technical director Edu to return with a new offer for Aouar while they may also sell Memphis Depay to Barcelona.
But Mikel Arteta’s side are not the only club in the running for Aouar.
“We know that three big clubs are interested in him, two in the short-term, one in the long-term,” Aulas added.
“Not much has happened. All the clubs can’t give us financially what Lyon wants.”
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Meanwhile, club legend Ian Wright thinks it is crucial that Arsenal sign Aouar before the window shuts.
“[They need] someone who they can pass the ball to, who is comfortable to receive it with someone on his back, who can pop it off, who can turn it around the corner,” he said.
“From there, Arsenal can play but we can’t do that at the moment.
“That’s why it’s imperative we get Aouar from Lyon. He’s someone that can get on the ball and get the forwards going. You saw the chances that Ceballos made when he came on, that’s what Arsenal need.”
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Arsenal lost 3-1 against Liverpool on Monday and Wright feels the gap will not be closed without blockbuster additions.
He added: “What we’ve seen is that Arsenal can keep it to 3-1 but in times before Arsenal have really collapsed under Unai Emery and in the latter stages under Arsene Wenger.
“They’re so much more organised now but with the organisation, they need the right pieces in there.
“If they can’t get that player this is what will happen. We can beat the likes of Fulham but when it’s that type of calibre of team (Liverpool), you’ll see Arsenal struggle.”
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