Arsenal’s hopes of landing Lyon star Nabil Fekir appear to have waned considerably after the Ligue 1 club’s president responded to talk of his sale.
France international Fekir has become one of the hottest properties in Europe after blasting 12 goals in 15 games for his club this season from an attacking midfield role.
All of Europe’s big boys are understood to be tracking the 24-year-old, who scored 14 goals last season, including Arsenal, but Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas says he will not be sold and he believes the player wants to stay with Lyon.
“Will Fekir be at the club after the winter transfer window? Of course,” Aulas said to SFR Sport.
“And nothing says that he will leave at the end of the season either. He is under contract [until 2020] and likes playing for Lyon very much.
“He’s enjoying a period of success football-wise, but also in terms of management as he’s the captain of a Lyon team who has got itself back on track – and that’s also thanks to him.
Asked if Fekir would be at Lyon in 2018/19, Aulas added: “Of course, he has a very good chance of being at Lyonnais. He’s a symbol. In between times, there is the World Cup. If France makes the final and he scores the winning goal, of course he’ll get offers. But we will do everything to get Nabil to stay. And I think he wants to.”
Arsene Wenger is understood to be keen on Fekir, who can also lead the line, after the player’s father previously suggested that working with Wenger at Arsenal would be good for his son’s development.
He is seen as a ready-made replacement for Mesut Ozil, who is out of contract at the end of the season, but if Lyon sell they will be looking for in excess of £40million for the player.
“Nabil would like to finish 1st or 2nd and play Champions League football with Lyon,” the Frechman’s father said in 2015. “If he leaves, it will be for Arsenal. It’s the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger.
“He will not go to Manchester City to sit on the bench.”
And recently Fekir, who is captain of Lyon, admitted that England is one destination that appeals to him.
“When you are Lyonnais, the only attractive French club remains Lyon,” he told Le Parisien last month . “There isn’t another which tempts me more than that.
“Spain and England are two very attractive championships.”