Arsenal have been dealt a major blow in their hopes of signing Houssem Aouar, with reports in France stating Liverpool have now emerged as the frontrunners. Aouar has long been a target of the Gunners, with Mikel Arteta originally attempting to sign him last summer.
The Frenchman has impressed for Lyon, scoring seven goals and notching three assists as they finished in the top four of Ligue 1 last season.
Aouar’s performances have again attracted the eye of the Gunners, who had hoped this would be the year they finally landed their long-time target.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants to sign a new partner for Thomas Partey in his defensive midfield, with Aouar one of his top targets.
The Gunners have already brought in Albert Sambi Lokonga to add to his corps of central midfielders, but they are also seeking a more experienced star to play with Partey.
That man appears to be 23-year-old Aouar, but Arsenal are now facing competition from Premier League rivals Liverpool for his signature.
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It marks a major blow for Arsenal, who are said to be waiting on departures before launching their own bid to sign the Frenchman.
Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka and Joe Willock are all expected to leave the Emirates Stadium, but their exits are dragging out.
Bellerin has several suitors, with Inter Milan having the strongest interest, while Arsenal are still in negotiations with Roma over Xhaka’s price tag.
Willock meanwhile is edging closer to returning to Newcastle on a loan move for the duration of the season.
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Though they are the frontrunners, Liverpool are also experiencing trouble with their potential move for Aouar.
That is because it is claimed that Lyon have increased their demands for Aouar’s fee, with it rising from £17million to £30m.
If Liverpool can at least match that higher valuation, it is said that Lyon will “clearly not be able to refuse” the move.
The ball is now in their court, but the Reds are struggling to match the price tag, with Le10Sport stating the chances of him staying Groupama Stadium are getting “bigger and bigger”.
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