According to a recent report by ESPN, Manchester City and Chelsea are keeping a keen eye on Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Houssem Aouar this summer. The same source has also claimed that Lyon are eager to sell the French playmaker for around £45m so that they can raise some funds for incoming transfers with the Citizens very interested in recruiting him in this off-season.
Aouar’s Exceptional Form In The Ligue 1 Last Season
The Lyon youth product has established himself as a consistent performer at the Groupama Stadium following a run of impressive displays at the centre of Rudi Garcia’s midfield. The 21-year-old featured in 37 matches for the Ligue 1 giants last season, netting nine times while grabbing seven assists on all fronts, which sheds light on just how much he has matured as a footballer over the past 12 months.
Aouar has become a real fan-favourite at Lyon after averaging 1.1 tackles, 0.5 interceptions, 1.8 shots, 1.0 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per game in the recently concluded Ligue 1 season (stats via whoscored). His excellent contributions at both ends of the field have enhanced his reputation in Europe, so it is no wonder that two top English clubs including Man City are eager to persuade him to join the Premier League next season.
The Lyon-born playmaker has also represented France at various youth levels but is still waiting to make his first international appearance for Didier Deschamps’ French national side. However, his ceiling is sky-high, so he is bound to get a senior call-up for Les Blues sooner rather than later as long as he can maintain his high standards in the upcoming campaign.
What Are The French Youngster’s Greatest Strengths?
Aouar hardly gives the ball away after completing 85.7% of his attempted passes in the Ligue 1 last season (stats via whoscored). He can make full use of his quickness and agility to pull off a few penetrative runs with the ball towards the opposition penalty box and is versatile enough to operate in multiple positions at the centre of the park. The French starlet is primarily a box-to-box midfielder, but can also play as a left-sided wide player or fill in as an attacking midfielder if needed.
Aouar has the versatility, technique and flair to become an integral asset for a team like Man City in the coming seasons. He has also got the vision to play a precise through-pass in the final third which explains how he had picked up seven assists last season.
Should Guardiola Get Aouar On Board This Summer?
Recruiting an up-and-coming playmaker like Aouar could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business for Pep Guardiola this summer. He will not only add more goals and creativity to the Spaniard’s midfield but also improve the overall depth of his squad. With David Silva’s time at the Etihad Stadium nearing its end, Aouar could end up being an ideal long-term replacement for the ageing Spaniard. Furthermore, the French prospect might potentially strike up one of the most feared midfield partnerships with Kevin De Bruyne at the heart of the Man City first-team.
The Lyon starlet has all the skillset required to be a success story in English football, and his addition will go a long way in helping Guardiola bridge the gap with Liverpool at the top of Premier League table. Hence, it makes sense for the Citizens to get him on board this summer, but it won’t be easy for them to do so, mainly because they are facing the real possibility of being banned from all UEFA competitions for at least two years.