Arsenal’s hopes of signing Houssem Aouar have been boosted this afternoon after Lyon agreed a deal to sign his replacement in the form of Lucas Paqueta. The French club remain determined to keep their playmaker but with Arsenal set to return with an improved offer, president Jean-Michel Aulas has been forced to dip into the market.
It would take an offer of at least £45m for the club to consider selling Aouar, who is now their most-prized asset.
Lyon have already sold a number of first-team stars this summer including Bertrand Traore to Aston Villa and Martin Terrier to Hertha Berlin.
Memphis Depay could be set to follow with Barcelona weighing up a bid for the former Manchester United man.
Now it appears that Lyon are preparing for the potential departure of Aouar, after Arsenal’s opening bid of £32million was rejected.
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According to multiple reports, they have agreed a deal to sign AC Milan midfielder Paqueta for a fee of just over £18million.
The 23-year-old was considered a huge talent in his native Brazil having starred for Flamengo before his £32m move to the San Siro.
Liverpool had been linked with the player before his move to Italy and now Lyon believe they can help him reach his potential.
Aouar admitted there was talks between the two clubs following the 1-1 draw at Lorient last weekend.
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He was still uneasy about discussing his future due to the fact he has a three-year contract with Lyon.
Mikel Arteta is desperate to bring him to the Emirates Stadium and his arrival would conclude their summer business.
The Spaniard now favours a move for Aouar over Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, who has a £45m release clause.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright has urged his former club to get the deal done following the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Monday night.
“It felt like a training game for Liverpool in respect of Arsenal were saying you can try and get out but we will press you,” Wright told Premier League Productions after the defeat at Anfield.
“You can see that in Liverpool’s team everyone can move forward because Arsenal were starting so deep but what was evident to me was that we didn’t have that person in midfield who was comfortable enough on the ball until Ceballos came on.
“[They need] someone who they can pass the ball to, who is comfortable to receive it with someone on his back, who can pop it off, who can turn it around the corner. From there Arsenal can play but we can’t do that at the moment.
“That’s why it’s imperative we get Aouar from Lyon. He’s someone that can get on the ball and get the forwards going. You saw the chances that Ceballos made when he came on, that’s what Arsenal need.”
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