Arsenal and Tottenham’s transfer pursuit of Houssem Aouar could rely on Lyon failing to qualify for the Champions League after the playmaker revealed that he still dreams of playing in the competition for the Ligue 1 club.
Both Premier League clubs have long been linked with a move for the Frenchman but a deal has never materialised.
Arsenal and Spurs were both interested in signing an attacking midfielder in the summer but passed up the opportunity to sign Aouar.
The Gunners eventually landed Martin Odegaard, despite it initially seeming that their former loanee might remain at Real Madrid. The Norwegian signed in a deal close to £30million.
Spurs signed midfielder Pape Matar Sarr before loaning the 19-year-old back to Metz.
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Nuno Espirito Santo’s side appeared to lack a creative midfielder during their disappointing 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace and adding Aouar to their squad in the summer might have made a difference.
But the 23-year-old midfielder has put a dent in the two teams’ chances of signing him by admitting he still wants to feature in another Champions League campaign for Lyon.
The French side have had a difficult couple of years and have not qualified for the Champions League since 2019.
“As someone who’s from Lyon, to be able to play in the Champions League in this stadium is something I’d like to be able to do again – all of that is down to qualifying this season,” Aouar said.
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“Then I’d like to win a trophy, because that’s what’s missing the most for me at this club.
“I’m fully concentrated on Lyon. Playing in the Champions League again with my hometown club is an objective and a dream of mine.”
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Lyon not qualifying for the Champions League could clear the pathway for one of Arsenal or Tottenham to buy Aouar.
Although they too would surely need to qualify for the competitions. Arsenal have not competed in the elite European competition since 2016-17 and Spurs have slipped out of the Premier League’s top four in recent campaigns.
Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar oversaw a major overhaul a major overhaul of the Arsenal squad over the summer and were the top-flight’s biggest spenders.
Odegaard was one of six new arrivals at the Emirates Stadium, although Arteta and Edu were criticised for the amount of money spent.
That pressure was somewhat eased when the Gunners earned their first win of the season at the fourth attempt on Saturday.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scored their maiden Premier League goal of the campaign in a narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City.
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