Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas sends Nicolas Pepe message to Arsenal over Houssem Aouar deal

Arsenal have been warned they must pay more than they are offering for Houssem Aouar after spending a club-record £72million on Nicolas Pepe last summer. Aouar is Mikel Arteta’s top transfer target ahead of next Monday’s deadline. But Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas is doing all he can to get the most out of the Gunners.

Arsenal have already seen at least one bid turned down by Lyon for Aouar.

Aulas has been vocal in recent days, claiming Arsenal’s offer for the 22-year-old is well below their asking price.

Lyon initially wanted up to £54m for the midfielder but recent reports suggest they would accept a lower fee due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Lyon president Aulas has suggested Arsenal have only offered as much as £27.3m (€30m) for Aouar so far.

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He claims the former France under-21 star is worth far more than that and pointed out how much Arsenal paid for Pepe last year.

As reported by Get French Football, Aulas told Le Progres: “If Pepe is worth the price that they paid for him, then Houssem, who is an international player, is worth more than €30m.”

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Pepe joined Arsenal from Lille in the summer of 2019 but has struggled to hit the heights expected of him in the Premier League.

The winger has scored just eight goals in 46 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions and is yet to start in the Premier League this season.

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Arsenal are also interested in signing Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.

Partey has a release clause of £45m in his Atletico contract and former Gunners left-back Nigel Winterburn believes the 27-year-old would be a better signing than Aouar.

Winterburn told FreeSuperTips: “[Partey] takes the ball in tight situations and has the power and the ability to go past the opposing midfield players.

“Once you start to eliminate in this way, as Partey does, you tend to open space in and around the opposition’s defence.

“With Arsenal’s pace up front, they can take advantage of this and cause some damage.

“Mikel Arteta is not totally happy with the midfield that he currently has and looks like he wants to change it up.

“As always with Arsenal it takes a long time to get things done. We’re just going to have to again wait and see, but I don’t believe that Arsenal have the money to bring them both in.

“Also, when discussing ideal signings, we forget to consider whether those players want to join Arsenal, and that’s the most important thing.

“So, we’ve got to wait and see, but my preference of the two would be Thomas Partey.”

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