Tottenham Hotspur are now trying to sign Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar after repeated links with Arsenal, according to reports.
Aouar was a major target for Arsenal last summer as they looked to revamp their midfield. Ultimately, he stayed with Lyon, while Thomas Partey was the player who arrived at the Emirates Stadium. But 12 months later, the Gunners have still been considering Aouar as an additional reinforcement.
A recent report suggested Arsenal would revisit him as a last-resort option if they failed to sign James Maddison or Martin Odegaard this month. However, a deal for the latter now looks to be in place, with an announcement imminent.
But Aouar is still available for transfer by a Lyon side undergoing a period of transition. The talented academy product could fetch the French outfit a decent fee. Instead of Arsenal paying up, though, it could be north London rivals Tottenham who swoop.
So far, in Fabio Paratici’s first summer as Spurs managing director, the club have signed Pierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero and Bryan Gil. Another defender remains a priority, but they could look for an extra option in midfield too.
According to the Daily Mirror, then, they will make a move for the 23-year-old Aouar. The path is clear following Arsenal’s decision to focus elsewhere.
A one-cap France international, Aouar scored seven goals in 30 Ligue 1 games last season. Throughout his Lyon career, he has amassed a total of 172 appearances and 32 goals, while also adding 31 assists.
With two years left on his contract, Lyon could now be looking to cash in on their number eight. They sense problems growing in the dressing room, meaning they could offload several players they feel are to blame.
In the process of selling Aouar, they are believed by RMC Sport to have dropped their asking price.
Were he to move to Tottenham, Aouar would reunite with former Lyon midfield partner Tanguy Ndombele.
Exit-linked Spurs midfielder has few options
Tottenham could make room for Aouar by selling Moussa Sissoko, who has been told he will not be a regular under Nuno Espirito Santo this season.
French outlet L’Equipe claim that Nuno will refrain from using the 32-year-old on a regular basis this season.
Sissoko is thus on the lookout for a new club after learning of his fate. But he is yet to receive an offer from a European side.
He does have offers from the Middle East, but is not keen to go there. Therefore, he faces a stalemate with his future.
However, if he does end up finding somewhere to go, it could pave the way for Tottenham to sign Aouar.