Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is planning to build his midfield around Lyon star Houssem Aouar, according to reports.
The 22-year-old has established himself as one of the best young midfielders in Europe after his outstanding displays for Lyon.
Aouar has also attracted interest from top European sides Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester City. But according to ESPN, the gunners have made Aouar their priority target for the rest of the transfer window.
The report claims that Arteta sees Aouar as an important part of the midfield he plans to use in a 4-3-3 system at the Emirates. And Arsenal have already had an bid for Aouar turned down by Lyon as they offered cash plus Guendouzi.
However, Lyon are not interested in a deal that includes Guendouzi and are demanding a fee around €60 million (£55.5m).
Speaking earlier this week, Lyon’s sporting director, Juninho, confirmed Arsenal’s first offer for the Frenchman had been rejected.
‘I get along very well with their sporting director [Edu],’ Juninho said. ‘We spoke on the phone. Houssem Aouar is really appreciated by Arteta. There have been some discussions for Matteo Guendouzi who is also a good player.
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‘He was mentioned during the discussion, but this is not the profile we need, we were very clear. If it is like that, it does not interest us at all… it is, and we stopped.’
Arsenal are currently unable to meet Lyon’s valuation, although their move for the player have now been boosted after Emiliano Martinez’s £20m move to Aston Villa on Sunday.
Arteta, meanwhile, has said this week that he wants to bolster his squad even further: ‘We are still active in the market, we are looking at different options.
‘I would say we are active in the market for players in and out, at the moment the squad balance is not the ideal we want to achieve so there is still some work to do. ‘Some positions are overbooked, I said some others, in terms of specific qualities that we need, they are still not there.
‘We have to bear in mind the complication with this transfer market and the complexity and the timing, because you can see that clubs are behaving in many different ways and it is a little bit uncertain how this will work in the next few weeks.’