You’re Aouars! – Lyon star courted by host of EPL clubs including Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal
The Gunners were believed to be in pole position for Aouar, having registered a firm interest in the 23-year-old since last season.
In typical Arsenal fashion, however, their dilly-dallying over an already cut-price €25m (S$40m) deal for Aouar – they reportedly submitted a bid of €20m to Lyon for the player recently, which was rejected – has opened the door for other, more enticing teams to enter the fray for the player.
WATCH: Aouar's best assists for Depay
This means we can now expect Arsenal to accelerate their pursuit of Aouar over the coming days by submitting to Lyon a €20m and €1 bid, along with an autographed picture of Gunnersaurus to sweeten the deal.
The likes of Liverpool and United, however, aren’t likely to haggle over a mere €5m, with both teams ever ready to spend big on quality players when they come along. Of course, Spurs, with Daniel Levy leading negotiations, will probably start the bidding by offering 20 free copies of their “One Step from Glory: Tottenham’s 2018/2019 Champions League” DVD.
Aouar, who registered seven goals and three assists in 30 Ligue 1 games last season, has two years left on his contract, and cash-strapped Lyon are desperate to sell him to ease their financial burden.
Liverpool are eyeing Aouar as a possible replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, following the Dutchman’s move to Paris Saint-Germain. United, despite being well-stocked in the middle of the park, are also weighing up a move for Aouar, as they presumably have too much cash to spend this summer and so are just trying to hijack their rivals’ transfer business for sh*ts and giggles.
WATCH: Aouar's best moments from the 2019/2020 season
Spurs, too, require creativity in the attacking third, with the likes of Dele Alli yet and Giovani Lo Celso currently about as convincing as a husband trying to explain to their wife that they are part of Singapore’s KTV Covid-19 cluster only because they ate satay at Toa Payoh Lorong 5’s hawker centre.
As for Arsenal, they have long-viewed Aouar as an ideal player for Mikel Arteta’s set-up, with the Emirates Stadium outfit in urgent need for additional creativity in the middle of the park after a sub-par season which saw them finish eighth in the league with just 55 goals scored.
The good news for Arteta, however, is that exciting prospect Emile Smith Rowe is widely expected to sign a new long-term deal with the club. Smith Rowe had been the subject of a cheeky €30m bid from Aston Villa, but it now appears the 20-year-old will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
Following Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Hibernian in their first pre-season game earlier this week, Arteta made it clear that Smith Rowe, who scored the Gunners’ only goal in the game, would be staying at the club, and praised the player for his impact in the final third.
WATCH: Smith Rowe scores in pre-season friendly against Hibs
“Without a question. Yes. He (Smith Rowe) will stay here. 100 per cent,” Arteta declared. “He (Smith Rowe) knows that goals are a part of the game he needs to get better at. We are working on it a lot and you could see the positions that he took today (against Hibernian). He created two or three big chances.”