Arsenal have been handed a potential boost in their pursuit of Houssem Aouar, after the Frenchman was dropped by Lyon for the club’s next outing.
22-year-old midfielder Aouar was hotly-tipped for a move to north London during the summer.
As Mikel Arteta went in search of reinforcements to his side’s ranks in the middle of the park, Aouar was one of two midfielders identified as a key target.
The other, of course, was Thomas Partey.
In the end, the Gunners opted to splash the cash on the latter, activating Partey’s Atletico Madrid release clause on transfer deadline day last month.
And whilst the Ghanaian’s addition, in the long-term, will no doubt go on to prove a superb piece of business for Arsenal, the club’s midfield puzzle remains far from complete.
Recent weeks have seen the complete lack of a creative spark at Mikel Arteta’s disposal (as Mesut Ozil remains frozen out) widely highlighted, with a midfielder capable of both setting up teammates and finding the back of the net himself expected to be next on the Gunners’ wishlist.
In turn, a fresh swoop for Aouar, potentially as early as January, has inevitably been touted.
And, as outlined above, any hope on the part of Arsenal, or any other club for that matter, of thrashing out a deal for the gifted creator, have this week been handed a potential boost.
As has been widely reported in the French media over the last 24 hours, Aouar has been dropped for Lyon’s upcoming meeting with Reims.
This comes amid claims that the youngster refused to take part in Les Gones’ warm-down following a win over Angers last weekend.
Aouar is said to have complained about the quality of the pitch at the Stade Raymond Kopa.
In turn, the Lyon hierarchy have come to the decision that their star midfielder will play no part in the club’s next outing, to the apparent ‘astonishment’ of Aouar’s teammates:
🚨 | Houssem Aouar has been punished by Sporting Director Juninho for not wanting to train after not coming on vs Angers at the weekend – he will not be in the squad this weekend vs Reims, according to L’Équipe du Soir. https://t.co/gmUbvA442Q
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) November 26, 2020
Houssem Aouar refused to partake in the post-match warm down as requested because he felt the quality of the Angers pitch was not good enough – more details on this breaking story. https://t.co/gmUbvzMsEg
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) November 26, 2020
Elsewhere on the Arsenal front, meanwhile, an update on the fitness of stopper David Luiz has also been forthcoming.
Brazilian veteran Luiz was hauled off at half-time of the north Londoners’ win over Molde on Thursday, leading to immediate concerns over a potential injury.
Mikel Arteta, however, has since moved to quell such fears.
Speaking on the back of his side’s comfortable victory in Norway, the Arsenal boss revealed that Luiz was in fact simply struggling with the playing surface, and was subsequently substituted as a precaution.
He is therefore expected to be fit to feature in the Gunners’ Premier League meeting with Wolves on Sunday:
‘I hope that he’s fine. This surface brings some different challenges to some players who had issues in their bodies and it’s quite aggressive to play in this surface. We wanted to take zero risks tonight on that. I think he should be fine.’
Arteta said he substituted David Luiz as a precaution and he thinks ‘he should be fine’.
“This [artificial] surface brings some different challenges to some players who had issues in their bodies and it’s quite aggressive to play on.”https://t.co/5Oks0PH1mI
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) November 26, 2020
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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