Lyon chief warns Man City, Arsenal away from €70m midfield target

Arsenal have reportedly joined Manchester City in the race for Lyon starlet Houssem Aouar, but the French club’s president has made it clear how difficult it will be to prise the midfielder away.

Aouar has risen to prominence after impressing for Lyon against City in the Champions League, and numerous clubs are said to be lining up offers for the 20-year-old France youth international.

According to French outlet RMC Sport, Arsenal have identified Aouar as a replacement for Aaron Ramsey, who is set to leave the Gunners on a free when his contract expires in the summer.

Tuesday’s European papers claimed that Unai Emery is preparing a €70m offer for Aouar.

Aouar, who has been with Lyon from the age of 11, has also attracted the attention of Liverpool and Barcelona.

However, Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas has poured cold water on any claims that Aouar could leave the club in either of the next two transfer windows.

He said: “A departure for Houssem Aouar? The door is totally closed for our most successful hope.

“He has come from the academy and I think he is the future of Lyon.

“There will be very few departures this winter. We are not planning to let the world go this summer, we want to keep our players.

“The potential buyers will have to be convincing, they will have to have the right arguments and I do not see many of them at the moment.”

Aouar cites former Lyon and Brazil star Juninho Pernambucano as one of his idols, having inherited his number eight shirt at the start of last season. And Aulas clearly hopes that Aouar will follow in Juninho’s footsteps by staying with the Ligue 1 outfit for several years.


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