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Arsenal transfer news: Lyon explain why the Gunners did not sign Houssem Aouar

Houssem Aouar
(Image credit: PA)

Lyon general manager Vincent Ponsot has explained how Arsenal tried to sign Houssem Aouar in the summer.

The Gunners were heavily linked with the France international throughout the transfer window, but were ultimately unable to prise him away from the Groupama Stadium.

Arsenal instead signed Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, paying £45m to bring the Ghana international to the club on transfer deadline day.

Aouar is a different type of player to Partey and some Arsenal fans believe they should have prioritised the former over the latter.

Partey has made a fine start to life in north London and was excellent in the 1-0 victory over Manchester United last time out.

However, Arsenal have only scored nine goals in their seven Premier League matches to date and have at times looked short of creativity.

Aouar has proven himself to be an inventive force for both Lyon and France, which is why Mikel Arteta and co. were keen to sign him in the summer.

And Ponsot has opened up on the interest that was shown in their prized asset over the summer, while also stating that Arsenal did not meet their asking price.

“We had three big clubs for him. The first one was more for next season,” he told L’Equipe.

“The second one was related to the departure of a player, and with this club, we could have come to an agreement. The third club was Arsenal, who offered below the market value.

“We discussed it with the player’s entourage, and together we took the decision to say no. 

“The priority for us was clearly to keep the team competitive. For us, the market was over, but the coach told us that we were missing a lateral defender and then a central defender.

“But in the medium term, if Mediapro [one of Ligue 1's broadcast partners] doesn’t pay and the Covid continues, it will be the same.

“The economic situation is catastrophic for the football world. We are significantly impacted.

“On the market, there were two phases: reducing the number of players, which we did very well, and a second part concerning the players who could potentially leave.

“Finally, we could have transferred some of them, with a discount on the price. But even with the Covid impact, we decided to postpone.”

Arsenal entertain Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday evening.

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