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Arsenal will ramp their efforts to sign Houssem Aouar this week – but they are ready to admit defeat over Thomas Partey.
The Gunners are believed to have made a second bid for Lyon midfielder Aouar after failing with an initial offer worth just over £30m.
But the French club’s president Jean-Michel Aulas wants over £40m for the 22-year-old, who starred in the Champions League last season.
Cash-strapped Lyon are under pressure to sell but Aouar still has three years left on his contract.
And his club know his value could rise if he enjoys another good season and makes the France team for next summer’s Euros.
Aulas claims Arsenal’s latest bid “was an offer that did not even make us consider making a sale” – and has now set a Friday deadline for any deal.
But Arsenal believe Aouar is keen to join them and will not be giving up, after hitting a brick wall in their attempts to sign Atletico Madrid’s Partey.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta wants Partey to toughen up his midfield but Atletico are refusing to negotiate.
They want his £45m release clause met in full or there is no deal for the Ghana midfielder, who played for Madrid against Granada on Sunday.
Arsenal, who are trying to move players out to help raise funds for their remaining transfer business, cannot currently afford to pay so high a price.
And any move for Partey is also complicated by the fact Atletico want the 27-year-old’s clause paid in one go, meaning Arsenal cannot spread the cost by paying in instalments.
The Gunners are currently struggling to move out the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi as Arteta looks to revamp his squad.
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