Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Atletico Madrid to rival Newcastle and Arsenal for £13m-rated playmaker in January window

Ben Stewart
West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen (left) is tackled by Lyon's Houssem Aouar

Atletico Madrid have joined the hunt for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar as Newcastle and Arsenal remain interested.

Newcastle are keen to improve upon their midfield options and Aouar could prove to be the solution they are after. Eddie Howe’s most used midfield trio has consisted of Bruno Guimaraes, Joe Willock and Joelinton, but they are keen to add more depth to the position.

Guimaraes spent two and a half seasons with Aouar at Lyon and he could sway his former teammate to join.

Under their new regime, Newcastle have shown they are willing to splash the cash when the right player becomes available and Aouar could be available at a discounted rate.

The French midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Nottingham Forest in the summer, but nothing materialised in the end.

His current contract with Lyon is set to expire at the end of the season. The 24-year-old has spent his entire career with Lyon, but could now look for a new challenge.

According to Estadio Deportivo, Spanish giants Atletico Madrid are also plotting a move for Aouar.

Diego Simeone’s side currently sit fourth in La Liga after eight matches.

Atleti plot Houssem Aouar raid

Atletico have averaged 1.75 goals per game this season and a player like Aouar would be a useful addition to their side.

L’Equipe have reported that he is currently valued around the £13million mark due to his contract soon running out.

It has been no secret that Arsenal have also been long-term admirers of Aouar and they could still push for a move.

At just 24 years old he would fit into the recruitment strategy they have adopted under Mikel Arteta.

One potential area of weakness within the Arsenal squad is their lack of depth in midfield and Aouar could turn out to be a cheap solution.

The Frenchman has also had interest from the likes of Juventus and Real Betis and certainly won’t be short of offers.

If Lyon aren’t able to tie him down to a new deal, the January transfer window will be their last chance to cash in on him.

What Aouar can offer

Lyon currently find themselves on a bad run of form, having lost four of their last five matches. They have fallen to eighth in Ligue 1 and have struggled for consistency.

Aouar’s future has been up in the air for quite some time now, which has been an unwelcomed distraction for the club.

As a result of an ankle injury, he has only featured in one league match for Lyon so far this season.

When the Frenchman is at his best, he does have plenty to offer.

He has racked up over 200 club appearances for Lyon and has regularly been linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Last season he scored six league goals and registered four assists. In that time he produced 38 key passes and was one of their most creative players. He also averaged 2.1 shots and completed 1.9 dribbles per game.

In 216 appearances for Lyon, he has scored 40 goals and has assisted a further 35 goals.

Despite missing a chunk of this season through injury, he is usually quite reliable when it comes to fitness.

Across his last six seasons with Lyon, he has regularly racked up more than 2,000 minutes of football each season.

As he is potentially available for such a cut-price, someone could be getting a bargain in January.

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