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Rumour Mongering: Reds Favourites for Aouar as Arsenal Drop Out

It’s your weekly dose of Houssem hearsay.

Olympique Lyon v FC Lorient - Ligue 1
Just looking for that Babelcopter on the horizon.
Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

It’s been a busy week on the transfer front for Liverpool, as the Reds have wrapped up deals for Marko Grujic, Taiwo Awoniyi and Harry Wilson to move elsewhere, accumulating 30-odd million in the process, and Xherdan Shaqiri publicly stating his intention to seek a new challenge, preferably one in the slower-paced Serie A.

As such, speculation about how the Reds will spend their newly acquired funds — nevermind the Konaté fee and the debt remaining on last summer’s Diogo Jota and Thiago transfers — has accelerated, and, of course, Houssem Aouar has emerged once more as a potential target, this time alongside claims that Arsenal are no longer in the running for the Frenchman’ services.

The rumour has popped up on a number of French and English sites in recent days, but can be tracked back to Pete O’Rourke of freelancing journalism’s appearance on a podcast this weekend. Whether there is inside information behind these statements, or merely a summation of widely known facts — Liverpool need to replace Georginio Wijnaldum’s minutes, Lyon need to sell because of their financial situation, the player reportedly turned down Arsenal last season due to a lack of European football — is dubious, but the math adds up nicely nonetheless.

Given his profile — the Lyon academy graduate was a true two-way player for les gones a few seasons ago but has transitioned into an elite shot-getting attacking midfielder in the past year — Aouar makes a lot of sense for the Reds, not only as a creative force in central areas with significant experience deeper on the pitch, but also as a potential understudy to Roberto Firmino if his progress as a more attack-minded player continues.

Last summer’s price tag of €60m being cut in half or thereabouts as a consequence of the pandemic and Lyon’s financial situation also makes the deal a high value one, the sort Michael Edwards and his laptop-wielding analyst gang have been known to pounce on in the past.

Given all that, and assuming Jean-Michel Aulas doesn’t hold a grudge following the cancellation of Nabil Fekir’s Liverpool transfer back in 2018, it wouldn’t be hugely surprising to see this one go through. It would also be extremely exciting.