Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their long-running pursuit of Houssem Aouar, according to reports.
Despite being heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium last summer, Aouar ultimately stayed at Lyon.
The France international is expected to leave at the end of the season and Mikel Arteta is still a big admirer of his.
However, Arsenal can expect stiff competition for the midfield should they renew their interest in the summer.
Aoaur is under contract at Lyon until 2023 and is not expected to put pen to paper on an extension.
Andrea Pirlo is keen to bolster his midfield options and believes Aouar would be the perfect fit.
The Serie A champions have been tracking the Frenchman for some time and are planning to make their move soon.
Lyon will not allow Aouar to depart before Monday’s transfer deadline, and Juventus are prepared to wait until the summer before submitting a bid.
News of their interest will not go down well at Arsenal, who now face an uphill battle to sign the youngster.
Real Madrid are also said to be keeping close tabs on the situation as they look to renew their squad.
A failure to qualify for the Champions League would almost certainly put paid to the Gunners’ chances of signing Aouar.
Arteta has overseen a revival in recent weeks, though, and Arsenal are now just five points adrift of the top four.
Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Southampton means they have now taken 16 points from the last 18 available.
The Gunners are also still in the Europa League, whose winner will automatically advance to the group stage of next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal return to Premier League action against Manchester United on Saturday night.
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