A report from Le10Sport in France claims the transfer race for Olympique Lyonnais’ 23-year-old midfielder Houssem Aouar is heating up... and that Liverpool FC is at the front of a very long queue.
Arsenal, of course, was linked with a move for the Frenchman in the January window. Liverpool has also been rumoured to be long-term admirers of Aouar, a point brought up last summer by club-connected journalist David Maddock.
What has changed since is Lyon’s asking price. Currently, Aouar is estimated to cost between £17m and £21m. During last year’s summer window, he was estimated to cost about £54m. The dramatic fall in asking price can be mostly attributed to the collapse of Ligue 1’s €814m-a-year TV deal with Spanish company Mediapro. The resale of those rights fetched only €275m-€300m a year from (of course) Amazon, and that has led to speculation that the French clubs would have to resort to a fire sale of talent in order to balance the books.
Snapping up a long-term target for a cut-price fee would seem like a very Mikey Edwards thing to do, though Liverpool hasn’t really been linked with a move for the Frenchman before this report. In terms of playing style, Aouar is a very technically gifted centre-midfielder with the ability to break lines through both his fantastic dribbling and his ability to pick out a pass. He has demonstrated some defensive ability in the past, though expecting him to replicate Gini Wijnaldum’s work rate may be asking a lot out of him. There will be some doubts over how such a progressive player would fit in Liverpool’s discipline-demanding midfield set-up, but perhaps a signing like this would be a sign that Klopp wants to take some attacking and creation burden off the much relied upon front-three.
We’ll see if this rumour pops up more again over the summer, especially since Grujic and Awonyi’s transfer fees already add up to the lower end of what is apparently being asked for.