Paris Saint Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi has held talks with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas about a deal for Houssem Aouar, according to French media outlet L’Equipe via Get French Football News.
Aulas said three clubs were interested in Aouar in a press conference yesterday. He said two clubs had a short term interest in the player and a third side had a medium term interest. Arsenal and Juventus are understood to be the two clubs who are currently interested in signing the 22 year old. Juventus, however, seem to be a bit of a smoke screen. Despite their board having a strong relationship with their Lyon counterparts, the Italian side cannot afford Aouar’s transfer fee this summer.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta loves the French midfielder and the club are keen on signing him. The Gunners offered £27 million in addition to Matteo Guendouzi in early August but this bid was rejected. At the time, Lyon wanted £55 million for their academy graduate.
Over two months later, the French side have softened their stance on the player and would accept £45.5 million but the North London side’s latest offer is believed to be £34.6 million. Lyon are not interested in accepting Arsenal’s current offer. Arsenal must make up this £10.9 million difference between the two clubs’ valuations of the player if they wish to sign Aouar.
It is now being reported that the club with a medium term interest in Aouar is PSG. Their efforts to lay the groundwork for a deal are being driven by club president Al Khelaifi. He secretly met with the player’s entourage earlier this year. Feeling like he was in danger of missing out on the French midfielder, he called Aulas on Monday and talked further with him at the Ligue 1 clubs meeting in Paris the following day.
In recent hours, he has told sporting director Leonardo to get in touch with Aouar’s entourage. The French champions cannot afford to sign the Lyon academy graduate this summer as they do not have the funds to finance this deal. Due to FFP guidelines, they will not even be able to afford half of the player’s £45.5 million price tag.
PSG have lost over £90 million during the pandemic. They have been looking to raise £55 million through player sales this summer but have failed to achieve this so far. They could, however, look to agree on a price for the 22 year old with Lyon that would be payable next summer and seal a deal to sign Aouar next year. This would be appealing to Lyon as it would mean they would receive the funds before their accounts are due in June 2021.
Another option would be for last season’s Champions League finalists to sign Aouar on loan with an obligation to make the move permanent next summer but this doesn’t seem likely as it would still require them to pay a large loan fee upfront.
Aouar is believed to be keen on playing abroad and this could hamper PSG’s chances of signing him. Arsenal remain the favourites for his signature but they must act quickly as the transfer window is in its final days and there appears to be interest from other clubs. Aulas has indicated that the latest a player will be allowed to leave the club is Saturday morning.
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