For much of last summer, it looked as if Arsenal would go all out to sign Lyon star Houssem Aouar.
The Frenchman was heavily linked with a move to north London, with a belief he was Mikel Arteta’s No.1 transfer target,
However, the Gunners were unwilling to meet his near £60million valuation and a deal ultimately wasn’t completed.
According to reports at the time, Arteta and technical director Edu disagreed on the club’s top priority, with the latter preferring a move for Thomas Partey
Edu won out on that occasion when the Atletico Madrid midfielder signed on the final day of the summer window.
Despite signing Partey, it was subsequently claimed that Arteta still saw Aouar as a player that could greatly improve his squad.
Fast forward one season and the Gunners could reignite their interest after Lyon failed to qualify for the Champions League.
A final day defeat to William Saliba’s Nice, ensured the Ligue 1 giants would have to settle for the Europa League.
L’Equipe report that could mean the 22-year-old will be allowed to leave for closer to £30m, with French football facing harsh financial difficulties.
Aouar has endured a difficult season, where after contracting coronavirus, he quickly found himself in disciplinary trouble after missing a training session in November.
Asked ahead of the final game of the season, he refused to close the door on a move:” he said: “This could be, but it could also not be [last game for Lyon].
“I do not ask myself these sorts of questions before an important match like this. I have not played as much as I would have liked.
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“I struggled to come back after COVID. A pretty mixed season. I have improved in terms of managing injuries.”
Arteta meanwhile, is adamant that players will need to arrive this summer after they missed out on European competition for the first time in 25 years.
“The squad needs changing,” Arteta admitted earlier this month. “There were already a lot of changes in December, something that has not been done in years, but it tells us where we were.
“Things are going to have to change and the owners are going to back it up.”
His future could impact on their interest in Aouar and although Arteta concedes the final decision will be out of their hands, he would like him to return.
“Well we have a very clear and strong opinion on what we would like to do.
“He has adapted really well to our way of playing and to our football club. Hopefully we have given him the hope and the feeling that this could be a good place for him.”
Regardless, Arteta and Edu are set for some crucial decisions on the next step of the Arsenal rebuild.