Arteta warns fans Arsenal project will 'take some time'
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Arsenal and Tottenham could be in a strong position to launch another attempt to sign Houssem Aouar when the transfer window reopens in January. Both sides opted not to sign the Frenchman this summer, although many factors point towards an eventual exit from Lyon, and the north London rivals must be in the right place to pounce.
Aouar made no secret of his desire to leave the Ligue 1 side this summer, although he did not succeed in getting his move away.
The Athletic reported on deadline day that the 23-year-old would be staying put in France, despite weeks of interest from both Premier League sides.
Against the odds, Lyon stood firm, at least partly due to their failed attempt to bring in Anthony Martial from Manchester United leading up to the deadline.
They did manage one high-profile signing on Tuesday in the form of defender Jerome Boateng, but only after they supposedly made enquiries at Old Trafford about Eric Bailly too.
Still, with Aouar in their ranks, they are in a relatively good position to challenge for European spots in Ligue 1 for the coming season.
That is, of course, unless Arsenal and Spurs come knocking once again in January.
With Aouar’s contract due to expire in 2023, the pressure will mount on the Ligue 1 side with each passing transfer window to cash in on one of their prized assets.
A majority of French sides have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by last season’s collapsed broadcast deal which saw them lose out on millions in revenue.
As such, it may not take anything astronomical for one of the north London rivals to get their wish – all that would be left to decide is who will win the race.
Spurs’ need for a new midfielder, or indeed their ability to squeeze one in, was diminished when it became apparent that neither Tanguy Ndombele nor Harry Winks would be leaving the club on deadline day.
Arsenal had been linked with Aouar for years, although the signing of Martin Odegaard took some of the urgency out of their pursuit for an attacking midfielder.
Above all else, it removed the need for the Gunners to deal with Lyon’s stubborn approach to negotiations as they had the resources within their squad to happily walk away from the deal.
The fact still remains, however, that an unhappy Aouar and a contract approaching expiry will naturally lead to a departure, sooner or later.
When it comes to who will strike first in January, the Gunners may find it hard after their monumental £150million transfer outlay this summer, the biggest in their history.
Spurs may also struggle to cough up the cash, given they did not receive the huge transfer windfall from the sale of Harry Kane this summer when it looked as though they might.
If not in January, then certainly next summer, even a lowball offer would surely bring Lyon to the negotiating table with all parties fully wise to the fact that the cash-strapped side would rather accept a transfer fee than risk Aouar leaving for free.
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