Arsenal: 2021/22 season preview
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Arsenal decided to pull the plug on a move for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar in January due to ‘concerns’ raised in their scouting of the player, according to reports. The Gunners are believed to be considering a renewed approach for the Frenchman as Mikel Arteta seeks the addition of a creative outlet to dictate his side’s attacking play.
The departure of Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard at the end of last season leaves Emile Smith Rowe as the club’s only natural option in the No 10 role.
Joe Willock can also play there but is reportedly poised to join Newcastle United, who are said to have agreed personal terms with the 21-year-old after settling on a transfer fee at club level.
A number of potential targets have been linked with Arsenal in recent weeks, including Odegaard and Leicester City midfielder James Maddison.
The latter is understood to be on Arteta’s radar, but a successful move for his services would be likely to cost upwards of £60million.
The financial challenges involved suggest that Arsenal will struggle to land the 24-year-old before this month’s transfer deadline.
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Aouar has since re-emerged as an option for the Gunners, with Lyon potentially willing to accept a cut-price fee for his services.
He made 33 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit in all competitions last season, but with just two years remaining on his current deal, the possibility of a move elsewhere could soon be on the cards.
Arsenal have been holding discussions about the midfielder behind closed doors, with club chiefs optimistic that he could be signed for as little as £21m, according to The Athletic.
However, the report claims that some are not convinced that a move for the 23-year-old would be in their best interests.
A number of concerns were raised in January during Arsenal’s scouting process which ended the possibility of a mid-season approach.
Despite the club’s previous stance against a move, there is an understanding that Aouar would represent a real bargain in today’s market.
The possibility of a loan deal has also been explored by the Gunners, but it remains to be seen whether the Lyon playmaker will eventually make the switch to the Emirates Stadium this summer.
Aouar has also been linked with Tottenham, who are reportedly looking to bring in a creative midfielder of their own.
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Former Premier League forward Kevin Phillips recently urged Spurs to pip their cross-city rivals in the race for Aouar’s signature, highlighting the important role he could play under Nuno Espirito Santo’s guidance.
“Any player you try to sign from France, you have that benefit of being a Premier League club,” Phillips told Football Insider last month.
“If you can get him for that kind of money, just go and do it. It’s as simple as that. If you have the chance to get one over on Arsenal then it’s a good bit of business.
“I can see it. Nuno knows what he’s doing and that’s important. He will know how he wants his Tottenham team to play.
“If he can get those signings in then you will see a different style of play at the start of the season.”
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