According to Football.London, Arsenal are keen on securing the services of Houssem Aouar. The Olympique Lyon midfielder has caught the attention of manager Mikel Arteta, who is desperate to solve his side’s midfield problems in the summer. However, Aouar is expected to cost around £65 million, with Manchester City and Liverpool also monitoring his progress.
Do Arsenal need a Dani Ceballos replacement?
Arsenal are most likely to lose Dani Ceballos in the summer. The Spaniard hasn’t made the desired impact after arriving from Real Madrid in a season-long loan deal. Madrid’s asking fee of £36 million is also considered to be too expensive for the Gunners.
Nevertheless, Ceballos’ absence will once again create a void in the midfield department. The lack of a ball-carrier, who can move up and down the pitch, easing the transition could cause problems for a side that essentially relies on the possession-based style of football.
It is also fair to point out that Arsenal do not have much depth in the midfield unit. Aside from Ceballos, Arteta has only three other viable options in Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.
Swiss international Xhaka has improved a lot under Arteta, but both Torreira and Guendouzi have drifted towards mediocrity. That means the addition of a new midfielder this summer will be imperative for Arsenal if they are to solve their problems in the middle of the park.
Does Aouar fit the bill?
Aouar is a central midfielder by trade, who loves to attack the opposition. The Frenchman is equipped with exquisite control over the ball as well as a remarkable vision that allows him to create chances. His nimble footwork and clever passing is a huge help when it comes to operating in half-spaces as he can comfortably nestle through tight areas.
Aouar has averaged one key pass per game with a pass completion rate of 85%. He has also attempted over two tackles per game, which is indicative of his aggression and willingness to close down the opposition. It makes him a productive outlet in the second line of press.
Therefore, the 21-year-old can certainly add some quality to the Arsenal midfield and could even emerge as an upgrade over Ceballos, thanks to his directness.
Can Arsenal afford Aouar?
The biggest problem Arsenal are going to face in their pursuit of Aouar is his hefty price-tag of £65 million. Although the Coronavirus pandemic is likely to affect the market, it is fair to assume that the Gunners will not be able to afford anything over £40 million for a central midfielder.
That being said, offloading Mesut Ozil could help them fund a move for the Lyon sensation, especially with the playmaker reportedly bagging a hefty wage of £350k a week. But even then, with Liverpool and Man City also interested, it is unlikely that the Gunners would be able to get their hands on Aouar this summer.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored
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