Given his name won’t leave the headlines, we best get well versed.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this summer, Arsenal are fairly keen on Houssem Aouar. Based on what has been plastered over the news in recent weeks, he’s the best thing since sliced bread, the second coming of Zinedine Zidane and literally everything that Mikel Arteta‘s side are lacking.
Without digging too deep, some of the above isn’t too far off.
Indeed, the dearth of creativity in the Arsenal squad needs addressing and the obvious target in an exceptionally difficult window to navigate in is the French midfielder.
Only in the beginnings of what is set to be long, drawn-out saga – that we hop won’t eventually end up in disappointment anyway – it seems fitting to learn more about the 22-year-old who is way up on the transfer wishlist over in north London. Who is the star Arsenal are after?
He’s a One Club Man
We understand he’s only 22 years old, but in this day and age it’s hard to come by a player who hasn’t been here, there and everywhere by this point in their career. Moreover, Aouar was born in the city of Lyon, and still hasn’t left.
A gradual integration into the first team was cranked up a few notches when Corentin Tolisso left to join Bayern Munich. A wonderfully gifted midfielder himself, it was his departure that opened the door for Aouar to step up to the plate, where he hasn’t looked back since.
Four years and 137 matches since his debut, his 24 goals and 27 assists have placed him firmly in the sights of Europe’s big-hitters. Oh, and Arsenal.
Why is He Available?
Lyon are a selling club. Historically they have been. In France, they were the dominant side in the 2000s – before those pesky PSG lot came along – but their production line of superb talent has always been free to leave the club if the right price comes in.
Arsenal are no strangers to this with the signing of Alexandre Lacazette, and while Aouar is looking on course to be one of the world’s finest in the near future, he too has a price.
In a similar vein to the pursuit of Thomas Partey, if the Gunners meet that valuation, then he’s theirs. Testing the water with various swap deals has been the plan of action thus far, but it’s been widely reported that €60m (£53m) will do the trick.
As Edu and co haggle their way to a more affordable fee, if they do meet that price then he’ll overtake his fellow Lyonnais as the club’s third most expensive signing.
Aouar Fancies a Premier League Venture – Maybe With Arsenal?
The pulling power of the Premier League over, for example, Ligue 1 goes without saying. Widely accepted as the best league in the world, the way it’s viewed from across Europe can’t be understated. It has the passion, the support, the quality, the money and the international recognition that other divisions can’t match.
Fortunately, in Arsenal’s case, Aouar sees that too.
A few reports, including via everyone’s favourite Fabrizio Romano, have stated that the 22-year-old is keen on moving to England, putting Arsenal in a strong bargaining position. Not in terms of money, of course. They don’t have a lot of that.
If an amicable solution is met with Aouar, however, the personal side of negotiations will be easy to contend with.
However, He Has Stated an Interest in Playing for Pep Guardiola
Yes, we may have just made a case for Arsenal to be in a good position, but with rumoured interest from Manchester City, comments made by Aouar last summer may be cause for concern.
“You wouldn’t like to go to City?” Aouar told Bleacher Report.
“It is a great European club and all players have this urge to play for the biggest European clubs, which in addition is led by Guardiola, who for me is a reference as a coach. Guardiola has seen everything before.
“It is extremely good to play his teams and that’s what I like, his way of seeing football.”
Yeah…but…Arteta is better than Guardiola. Honestly, he is Houssem. Trust us on that.
A Humble Man Who Still Lives With His Parents
That’s right, a top level professional footballer with enough money to buy multiple houses still lives with his parents.
It stems from his humble nature off the pitch. Not one for the rockstar lifestyle that football inherently comes with, he prefers to shy away from the glamour and focus on other matters, such as his family.
It transpires into his football, too. Unselfish and focused, his intent is not only personal glory, but shared success.
Doesn’t that just sound really nice and make you want Arsenal to buy him more?