Arsenal will not be renewing their interest in Lyon midfield Houssem Aouar in the January window and will instead pursue other targets, according to reports.
The Gunners have endured a difficult season and have been deprived of creativity after Mesut Ozil was frozen out, with a new playmaker now Mikel Arteta’s top priority when the window reopens.
They had been expected to make another move for Aouar, having held extensive negotiations with Lyon over the summer, but the Frenchman has fallen down their wishlist in the months since then.
According to The Athletic, Arsenal will not rekindle their interest in the 22-year-old and are ‘prioritising other targets’.
Although technical director Edu and Lyon counterpart and compatriot Juninho held productive talks in the summer, the Ligue 1 club ultimately wanted too much money – roughly £40million up front.
Having already spent £45m to buy out Thomas Partey’s release clause from Atletico Madrid, Arsenal will need to find a cheaper alternative to their creative problems.
In addition to the fee Lyon would demand, Arsenal also have some ‘reservations’ about Aouar while the Frenchman himself has publicly committed to remain with the club until the end of the season at least.
Instead, Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt and Barcelona’s Riqui Puig.
Buendia is the likeliest target of that trio, having performed excellently in the Premier League last season despite Norwich’s relegation, creating the fourth most chances (83) of any player in the division.
The Argentine would also be expected to make a more immediate impact midway through the season, given he is already up to speed with the pace and intensity of English football.
Brandt and Puig would be much bigger gambles in that respect, while Arsenal are also still keeping tabs on RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku having been interested in the Frenchman when he was still at PSG and Unai Emery was in charge.
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