Amid reports linking Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal with Houssem Aouar, Lyon sporting director Juninho has acknowledged that “there is a risk of losing important players” when “bigger teams with greater economic power” come knocking.
Aouar has been linked with Arsenal for a number of months, the Daily Mail claiming in February that he had “admirers in the red half of north London”.
In mid-June, meanwhile, 90Min wrote an article about the “five clubs he’s most likely to move to”, with the Gunners on the list for the player.
More recently, the Daily Mail claimed that Arsenal, along with Manchester City and Juventus, are reportedly keen on Aouar.
The 22-year-old has come through the ranks at the Groupama Stadium and has developed into one of the top young midfielders in Europe over the past few years.
Despite his young age, Aouar has clocked up an impressive 135 senior appearances for Lyon, with 24 goals and 25 assists under his belt already, and played a key role in their run to the Champions League quarter-finals this season.
Juninho now appears to have opened the door to a potential sale, hinting that Lyon will have to consider any substantial offers for their best players, with Aouar reportedly valued in the region of €50million (£44million), according to Goal.com.
Asked by RMC Sport about Aouar’s future, the Lyon chief responded: “Houssem Aouar? When you have great players in the squad, it is quite logical that other bigger teams with greater economic power come to seek the players.
“There is a risk of losing important players. If we lose important players, I have already spoken with the president, we will have the right to balance the workforce.”
Aside from his impressive stats, Aouar has also been spoken of very highly in footballing circles for a number of years now.
The France Under-21 international has been highly praised by Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola, who told Sky Sports in late 2018: “He is incredible. He is always calm with the ball at his feet with an excellent technical quality.”
With Mesut Ozil frozen out at Arsenal, a player of Aouar’s calibre – not to mention his first-team experience – could be a superb asset for the Gunners, though there would need to be some outgoings first to raise funds.