Arsenal have offered Lyon €35 million for star midfielder Houssem Aouar, sources have told ESPN.
Sources add that while the French club is likely to reject this first bid, Arsenal are expected come back with an improved amount.
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Initially, Lyon wanted €60m for their playmaker. But with the coronavirus pandemic changing clubs’ financial situations, they have lowered their expectations with a fee of €40m or €45m likely to be enough. Arsenal might have to finalise the departure of Lucas Torreira first to raise funds to improve their offer for Aouar.
A few top clubs have showed interest in the 22-year-old Frenchman who impressed in the Champions League this season, but Arsenal are the first to move for him. Manager Mikel Arteta made Aouar his priority, and sporting director Edu has been discussing a deal with his Lyon counterpart Juninho for the past few weeks.
Sources have told ESPN that the France Under-21 international is keen on joining the Gunners, where he would be reunited with former Lyon teammate Alexandre Lacazette. They are still very close from their time at the club. Aouar also knows Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi well, having played together for France’s U21s.
Aouar received his first France call-up by Didier Deschamps after a fantastic close to the 2019-20 season. However, he tested positive just before the squad got together in Paris.
Aouar was recently suspended for one match after receiving a red card in a Ligue 1 match against Montpellier on Sept. 19.