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Manchester City Locked In 3 Way Battle For This Ligue 1 Midfielder: The Right Choice For The Citizens?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by Corriere dello Sport, Manchester City are one of the teams interested in acquiring the signature of Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Houssem Aouar. The same source has also claimed that the Citizens will face fierce competition from Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in pursuit of the Ligue 1 sensation.

It is believed that Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas will demand a fee around €70m for the French playmaker, so Pep Guardiola would have to break the bank to land him this summer (via Corriere dello Sport).

Aouar’s Remarkable Rise At The Groupama Stadium

The 21-year-old has enjoyed the best season of his playing career after he put in a string of eye-catching displays in the French top-flight. He has scored nine goals and provided seven assists in 37 matches for Rudi Garcia’s side this term across all competitions which sheds light on how exceptional he has been for his boyhood club in this campaign.

Aouar has averaged 1.1 tackles, 0.5 interceptions, 1.8 shots, 1.0 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Ligue 1 (stats via whoscored). His stats prove that he can make an impact at both ends of the field. The Lyon-born prospect has represented France at various youth levels but is yet to earn his first senior cap for his nation. However, his potential is there for everyone to see, so it is only a matter of time before he gets a chance to flourish as part of Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus.

Lyon’s French midfielder Houssem Aouar gives a press conference, on February 18, 2019, in Decines-Charpieu, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match Lyon vs Barcelona. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP/ Getty Images)

What Will The French Playmaker Add To Guardiola’s Side?

Aouar is an accurate distributor of the ball as evidenced by his pass success rate of 85.7% in the Ligue 1 this season (stats via whoscored). He is a moderately paced midfielder who primarily operates in a box to box role but can also fill in as a left-winger or operate in the number ten position if required. The Frenchman excels at completing dangerous dribbles with the ball towards the opposition penalty box. He has also gradually transformed himself into a prolific finisher in front of goal and can pick out a killer ball in the final third.

Recruiting a player of Aouar’s skillset will undeniably be a massive coup for the reigning champions of England. He will not only add more goals and creativity to Guardiola’s midfield but also improve the overall depth of his squad. With David Silva set to leave the club at the end of this campaign, the French U-21 international could be a perfect replacement for the ageing Spaniard.

Is Aouar The Right Choice For Man City?

Furthermore, he will also offer some much-needed competition for the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden for a first-team berth at the Etihad Stadium. Guardiola has often preferred to use the 4-3-3 formation, so Aouar is tailor-made to occupy one of the creative midfield positions in his starting XI. The Lyon whizkid has the ceiling to become a future great in European football. Hence, he will be an excellent choice for the Citizens if they can manage to bring him to England before the start of the new campaign.

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