Arsenal turn attentions to old target as Granit Xhaka replacement

Arsenal are set to ramp up their interest in Houssem Aouar this summer as they seek a replacement for Granit Xhaka following Mikel Arteta’s change of system.

The Gunners have moved from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 system this season, pushing Xhaka on as a left-sided central midfielder. And, while he has been far from a disaster in the role, there is certainly scope to upgrade on the immobile 29 year old Swiss anchor.

One man who has long been in the crosshairs of Arteta and Technical director Edu Gaspar is Aouar, with Lyon having turned down a pair of bids for him from the Gunners in the summer of 2020. Since then, however, interest has cooled in the Frenchman from around Europe, and his contract being up in 2023 means that he could be available for a bargain price in the summer.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 7: Houssem Aouar of France reacts during the international friendly match between France and Ukraine at Stade de France on October 7, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

According to Italian outlet CalcioMercato, Arsenal will be part of a three-horse race for his signature, which includes Serie A heavyweights Juventus and Inter Milan. A change of agent for Aouar has made the move far more likely than previously, they claim.

Would Aouar suit Arsenal?

Stylistically, Aouar would suit Arsenal to a tee, offering everything that Mikel Arteta seemingly wants from one of his forward players. There is, after all, a reason that the Gunners pushed so hard for him in the past.

However, the Arsenal squad is beyond just that being enough now. The hierarchy have backed Arteta as the man to clear out any of the ‘bad eggs’ in the squad, with the result being a seemingly positive and together squad. Were Aouar to threaten that, as his previous attitude problems could do, then it would be a no go.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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