Sporting director reveals why Lyon turned down Arsenal midfielder swap

Date published: Wednesday 9th September 2020 8:49 - Samuel Bannister

The sporting director of Lyon has ruled out taking Matteo Guendouzi in a swap deal with Arsenal for Houssem Aouar.

Arsenal are looking to reinforce their midfield ahead of the new season. Guendouzi is one of several players who could leave in that position, with Lucas Torreira’s future also unclear.

Thomas Partey is the main target to revamp Arsenal’s midfield, and the Ghana international has turned down a new contract at Atletico Madrid.

Another player who would significantly strengthen the position for Arsenal is Aouar. The midfielder stood out for Lyon in their run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Reports emerged last month that Arsenal could send Guendouzi back to his native France in a swap deal for Aouar.

Guendouzi has fallen out of favour under Mikel Arteta, and faced disciplinary issues towards the end of last season. Therefore, the club are now looking to find a solution for him.

However, Lyon sporting director Juninho – a talented midfielder himself in his playing days – has denied that the Ligue 1 club need Guendouzi.

Juninho told RMC Sport (as translated by Get French Football News): “I get on very well with the [Arsenal] sporting director [Edu]. We spoke on the phone.

“Houssem Aouar is really well liked by Arteta. There were some discussions for Mattéo Guendouzi, who is also a good player. He was brought up during the discussion.

“But we don’t need his profile, we were very clear. If it is like that, we are not interested at all, we cut the conversation, that is where things ended.”


‘Guardiola appreciates the player’

Aouar has also been linked with Manchester City and PSG, but Juninho adds there have been no official offers from them.

“I think it happened directly with the agents,” he said, as quoted by Sport Witness. “We were not contacted directly. Maybe Vincent Ponsot [general manager] was contacted by Manchester City, I’m not sure.

“It’s like that with these two teams, they are two huge teams that play to win the CL every year, they have the capacity for that and that makes every player dream.

“I don’t know if Houssem is ready to change plans for a great Ligue 1 team like PSG.

“For City, of course Guardiola appreciates the player, but is that the profile they are looking for today? We don’t know either and we haven’t received an official offer.”


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