Nottingham Forest could reportedly lose out to East Midlands rivals Leicester in their bid to sign Houssem Aouar after having a big offer rejected for the Lyon midfielder.
The France attacking midfielder has been strongly linked with both Arsenal and Tottenham in the past, although the former have since switched their attentions to Leicester star Youri Tielemans instead.
That has led to rumours of both Forest and Leicester trying their luck to land the highly-rated Aouar.
And L’Equipe states the 24-year-old is open to a switch after consistent Premier League links.
Lyon are also expected to cash in on the player, given he only has a year left on his contract. However, it appears that Steve Cooper’s men have already failed with a bumper opening offer for Aouar.
The £62,000-a-week star has spent his whole career at Lyon. But Forest were ready to up that salary significantly to get their man.
The report does not state how much the City Ground outfit have offered, but it has been turned down.
That has seemingly opened the door for Leicester, who have yet to make a signing this summer.
The Foxes continue to have concerns over James Maddison’s long-term future, with a number of Premier League rivals keen on the England star.
To that end, they view Aouar as a like-for-like replacement for Maddison and would have money in the bank if they offload the latter.
Aouar could be lucky 13th Forest signing
As for Forest, Cooper has already signed four midfielders this transfer window, with 12 new players arriving in all.
But Cooper wants to pair Aouar with Jesse Lingard to give Forest an attacking midfield platform to work from.
Interestingly, Aouar is represented by ICM Stellar Sports. They also have Dean Henderson, Moussa Niakhate and Omar Richards on their books, which could help if Forest decide to up their offer.
One player who will not be heading to the City Ground, however, is Real Betis’ Alex Moreno.
Forest had agreed a £9million fee for the left-back but Moreno decided to stay in Seville instead.
Betis, meanwhile, could inadvertently scupper Forest again, as they are also interested in bringing in Aouar.
Cooper’s men are next in action on Sunday when they host West Ham in the Premier League. They will also be looking for a much-improved display after failing to register a shot on target at Newcastle.