L’Équipe report that PSG President Al Khelaifi has devised a plan to sign Houssem Aouar from Lyon, working on a deal now but for an eventual transfer in 2021.
Lyon President Aulas was questioned about the future of Houssem Aouar on Wednesday during the unveiling press conference of Lucas Paqueta: “Things haven’t enormously advanced. We know that three major clubs are interested in Houssem. Two in the short term. One in the medium term.”
The first two are Arsenal and, to a lesser degree, Juventus. The Italians are appearing more and more to be some sort of a smokescreen. The London club, under the influence of manager Mikel Arteta, loves Aouar. The Gunners made their opening offer at the beginning of August, with a verbal bid of €30m + Mattéo Guendouzi in exchange. Lyon rejected it, asking for €60m for the 22-year-old instead.
Nearly 2 months later, Arsenal’s current offer is still not quite €40m (€38m, to be exact per reporting elsewhere), which will not convince the Lyon board. Whilst OL have lowered their demands for August, as reported by RMC, they now want €50m, and there is about a €12m difference that Arsenal must make up if they want to complete a deal.
Juventus can’t invest sum, even though their board is very close to Lyon’s. It is in this context that in recent days another possibility has emerged, PSG, the third club that Aulas was talking about.
Les Parisiens are very attracted by the French international’s profile, with PSG President Al Khelaifi very keen on doing a deal. He secretly met with Aouar’s entourage at the beginning of the year. In recent days, feeling like a deal could get away from him, Nasser made new contact. First calling Lyon President Aulas on Monday via telephone, and then exchanging words with him during the Ligue 1 clubs meeting in Paris on Tuesday.
NAK is driving the possible deal, not Sporting Director Leonardo. But the Brazilian has been instructed in recent hours by the Qatari to make contact with the player’s entourage.
This approach seems more opportunistic than necessary for PSG, who are not actively looking for a creative midfielder during this window and who cannot currently afford to reach the €50m asking price, let alone offer half of that amount as they seek to stick to FFP regulations.
PSG have lost more than €100m during the pandemic and want to sell to raise around €60m this window, something that they have come nowhere near achieving. But it is also maybe the moment to act, as Aouar is on the market, despite the fact that the offers on the table are not satisfying Lyon.
This is what Aulas has been meaning re: “medium term” interest. PSG are looking at making a deal now for next summer that guarantees a certain price paid, which OL could take comfort in knowing that that money would be coming in before their accounts are due at the end of June 2021.
Another possibility exists à la Kylian Mbappé – a loan with obligation to buy, but this is less likely, owing to the economic difficulties currently facing PSG, as this formula would require them to pay a hefty loan fee upfront.
Aouar is more of a mind to discover a foreign league this summer. Arsenal seem to still lead the race, but in this complicated saga, have to move more quickly than ever with a serious bid.
Aulas has fixed the absolute latest deadline of Saturday morning for all sales to be sorted.