The transfer of Houssem Aouar seemed highly likely as Arsenal prepared to release the funds to buy the highly regarded French midfielder but between club President Aulas and the player’s brother/agent Brahim, the deal wasn’t considered viable.
Aouar was the primary target for Arteta and Lyon was aware of Arsenal’s interest in the midfielder, with some communication taking place between the clubs. The North London side also made two bids but were turned down by Lyon as they deemed it to be ‘too low’.
Reports also suggested that the French midfielder had agreed to personal terms with Arsenal and was excited by the prospect of moving to the Emirates. But the clubs couldn’t agree on the player’s valuation, not enough to get the club officials around the same table.
However, the turning point wasn’t the game of poker between the two clubs over the price, but the agent’s demands for £10m. After the less than scrupulous dealings of Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal were keen to avoid paying way over the top on yet another deal, and as a result, Edu instructed the club not to pursue the transfer at this time.
It’s been suggested that Arsenal could theoretically go back for Aouar in January but, I’d suggest that the transfer would be more likely in the summer and only if Aouar’s brother is prepared to drop his personal demands substantially. Aouar is a fine player but he certainly isn’t the finished article and as such, in a Covid-19 market, the price has to reflect the global problems facing the sport.
The transfer of Thomas Partey shows that Arsenal are willing to spend but for a realistic price. Personally, I think that any chance of a deal may have passed and that Arteta will now consider his options after his first full season in charge of the club.