Juventus are making big plans to sign Houssem Aouar in 2021 – but remain wary Arsenal could yet win the race for the Lyon midfielder.
The Gunners saw multiple offers for the 22-year-old rejected by Lyon, as the French club stood strong on their €60m (£55.5m) valuation.
Aouar was one of Mikel Arteta’s top midfield targets for the window. However, the Gunners ended up landing Thomas Partey £45.4m on deadline day instead.
But despite failing to secure a Premier League move, Aouar is adamant his decision will prove the right one.
“I am happy, this is my city and this my club,” Aouar told Telefoot while on international duty with France earlier this month.
“I am proud to represent this club, I have so much motivation to make a great season.
“We made a choice, I’m happy to stay here. [Lyon president] Jean-Michel Aulas and [sporting director] Juninho convinced me to stay in Lyon.”
There are claims Arsenal could come back in for Aouar in January and provided they can offload some fringe stars first.
According to Tuttosport, however, Juventus are also firmly up their own plans to sign the midfielder.
They state Juve’s sporting director Fabio Paratici drew up a Phase 1 and Phase 2 of transfer plans for the 2020/21 campaign.
The first part of Paratici’s objectives have already been achieved. That’s after Juve landed Dejan Kulusevski, Weston McKennie and Federico Chiesa over the summer.
However, the Juve chief is not stopping there. They state top of his second recruitment drive is Aouar and that ‘concrete plans’ are in place to land him.
The Italian paper does, however, state that Andrea Pirlo’s side does fear a second attempt from Arsenal to beat them to Aouar.
It does seem though that Juventus are in the driving seat. As per Tuttosport, Juve already have the upper hand. That’s because Paratici already has an excellent relationship with Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas after the loan move of defender Mattia de Sciglio.
While Juve don’t yet have an agreement in place for Aouar, it’s believed Aulas would far rather deal with them than Arsenal.
Aouar ‘ceiling’ for Arsenal
Arsenal’s failure to land Aouar during the summer window has been given some more context by L’Equipe.
The French paper confirmed the Gunners had two bids fail for the midfielder in the final weeks of the window.
They understand Arsenal’s final bid was worth £35m – but that did not persuade Lyon to sell.
L’Equipe reports Arsenal had a transfer ceiling on the player and they refused to budge on the top-end value they had placed on the 22-year-old.
They claim their summer actions did not win them any favours with Lyon. Furthermore, they state the Gunners will be second favourites in the event of a fresh approach in January.