Arsenal are reportedly preparing an improved bid for Houssem Aouar after Lyon rejected their first offer for the midfielder.
Lyon’s sporting director Juninho has revealed Mikel Arteta’s side have made the first move for Aouar, who is also believed to be on Manchester City’s radar.
However, the Ligue 1 side were not interested in signing Gunners midfielder Matteo Guendouzi as part of a player-plus cash swap deal.
Lyon have made it clear they will not accept less than £54.5m for France under-21 international Aouar, who is contracted to the club for another three years.
And now Arsenal are in talks with the 22-year-old’s representatives as they prepare an improved offer, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
Aouar scored nine goals and provided 10 assists for Lyon last season, starring in their run to the Champions League semi-finals – which saw them eliminate Pep Guardiola’s City in the last eight.
Juninho admitted he had spoken to Arsenal technical director Edu about his player – but stressed that the idea of a swap deal for Guendouzi was a no-go.
“I get on very well with Edu,” said Juninho. “We spoke on the phone.
“Aouar is really appreciated by Mikel Arteta. Guendouzi was discussed during the cal – he is a great player, but he is the wrong profile.
“We are not interested in that at all. We cut the conversation.”
Juninho acknowledged that Aouar’s head might well be turned by interest from Arsenal or City – although he insisted there had been no concrete interest from Guardiola’s side.
“It is like that with these two teams, two enormous teams who play to win the Champions League every year, they have the capacity for that and that makes any player dream,” said the Lyon chief.
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“I don’t know if Houssem is ready to change project for a big Ligue 1 team like PSG.
“For City, of course Guardiola likes the player, but is that the profile that they are looking for today? We don’t know that either and we have not received any official offers.”