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Arsenal are reportedly expected to return for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar when the transfer window reopens. The Gunners failed with two bids earlier this summer and instead secured the acquisition of Thomas Partey on transfer deadline day from Atletico Madrid, after triggering his £45million release clause at La Liga HQ.
It’s no secret that Arteta was set on landing Aouar, who was his top transfer target but the club were unable to negotiate a deal with Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas.
Aouar himself was ready to make the move but was forced to stay put in France but now there is optimism negotiations will begin again in the new year.
Arsenal have won just four of their 11 Premier League matches this season and are already eight points adrift of the top four.
The team has struggled to build on winning the FA Cup and Community Shield and Arteta is in desperate need of reinforcements.
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According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Gunners are expected to try and broker a deal for Aouar at the third time of asking.
“I think they will try again for sure,” he told The Arsenal Lounge: “Now we have to know what will happen with [Dominik] Szoboszlai, they are waiting on his final decision.
“But immediately after Szoboszlai signs with another club, they could move again for Aouar. They have already spoke with his agent.
“It is not easy to sign Aouar in January, but he is at the top of the list for Arsenal. He’s a favourite for Arteta, it’s the same for the board. So, yes, in my opinion they will try again.”
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Red Bull Salzburg starlet Szoboszlai is another player the Gunners have been monitoring closely since the arrival of Arteta.
The Hungarian international has a £22.5million release clause written into his current deal with Salzburg.
Arteta is said to be ‘in love’ with Aouar and first became aware of his qualities while working as Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager at Manchester City.
The France international caught the eye as City drew 2-2 at Lyon in the Champions League back in November 2018.
He could help rejuvenate the depleted Gunners midfield which based on recent evidence, is severely lacking creativity and invention.
Arsenal’s offer of around £35m fell short of Lyon’s asking price last summer with Aulas looking for around £45m to sanction his exit.
A host of other top European clubs including Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested in the 22-year-old.
In order to spend this January, the Arsenal are expected to inform Edu that he must clear the decks and sell the deadwood within his squad to free up some cash.
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