Houssem Aouar was one of the stars of August’s Champions League epilogue | Pool/Getty Images
Arsenal are planning to send an improved bid to Lyon for star midfielder Houssem Aouar.
Mikel Arteta is keen to add another central midfielder to the Gunners’ ranks this summer and has identified Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey and Aouar as his two priority targets.
However, with the club reluctant to pay Partey’s £45m release clause, it appears their attentions have switched firmly to the Lyon dynamo despite already having a £31.2m bid rejected by the French club.
Thomas Partey is another priority target for Arsenal | Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Fabrizio Romano reports that the Arsenal board – alongside Arteta – are convinced that Aouar is a ‘top player’ and will continue talks with the player’s agent ahead of an improved second bid.
Lyon are demanding a fee of £54.5m for the supremely talented Frenchman’s services this summer, and sporting director Juninho has made it clear the club aren’t interested in any sort of swap deal which would see out of favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi arrive at Les Gones.
Thus, with Arsenal seemingly unable to fund a move for Atletico’s Partey, it’s hard to envisage the club matching Lyon’s asking price without a fair share of departures.
Arteta will have to trim his squad considerably.
Emiliano Martinez and Lucas Torreira are two players who seem destined to depart north London this summer, with the former’s stellar form to round off the 2019/20 campaign certainly increasing his number of potential suitors.
Aouar would be a significant coup for the Gunners | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Torreira, meanwhile, has attracted interest from a number of clubs in Serie A. Torino and Fiorentina are in talks with Arsenal over a potential deal.
Another player who could exit the Emirates is full back Hector Bellerin.
The Spaniard has Europe’s elite chasing him this summer, with Paris Saint-Germain already lodging a £25m bid in an attempt to get ahead of the competition.
Arsenal have set their asking price for Hector Bellerin | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Arteta, though, is reluctant to sell Bellerin this summer and will only facilitate a departure if they receive a bid closer to the £35m mark – a fee which would go a long way to funding the transfer of Aouar or Partey.