Arsenal given deadline in Aouar pursuit after 'timid' opening offer

Arsenal have been given a deadline of Friday in their pursuit of Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, with the French side describing the Gunners’ opening offer as ‘timid’.

The north London side have been strongly linked with a move for the 22-year-old as Mikel Arteta seeks to strengthen his midfield options at the Emirates, with the newly-capped France international viewed as a player who can add a touch of creativity to the side.

Aouar caught the eye with his performances as Lyon reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and Arsenal have reportedly made an opening offer to sign the star, though their initial bid is some way short of the Ligue 1 outfit’s valuation.

Lyon president, Jean Michel Aulas, has been discussing the Premier League side’s interest in Aouar and revealed that Arsenal’s opening bid was dismissed out of hand by the club’s hierarchy.

“There was a timid offer,” Aulas told Canal+. “We felt like they didn’t consider the fact that this is a player in the French national team. So, it was an offer that did not even make us consider making a sale.”

Speculation has continued to surround Aouar’s valuation amid links to the Premier League with suggestions his departure could exceed the £55m deal that saw Tanguy Ndombele leave for Tottenham last summer, Aulas admitting his side are seeking big money when asked if Aouar’s price-tag was in the region of €40m or  €50m.

“It is certainly more than the first number that you mentioned,” he added.

The club president also confirmed that Lyon are keen to conduct all transfer business in terms of outgoings by Friday, setting Arsenal a deadline to come up with an acceptable bid for the in-demand midfielder.

“We will tell the players that whatever will not be settled in terms of departures before Friday, there will be no more departures,” Aulas told Telefoot.

“So for us the [closing] date of the transfer window will be Friday.”

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