Arsenal are unlikely to land the high-profile signing of Houssem Aouar from Lyon this month because the £45million-rated midfielder is too expensive and is one of the French outfit’s key players as they look to end Paris Saint-Germain’s monopoly of the Ligue 1 table.
Lyon sit top of the table, a point ahead of reigning champions PSG who recently sacked Thomas Tuchel and have appointed Mauricio Pochettino as his successor, having lost just one of 17 matches so far this term.
Attack-minded central midfielder Aouar has played in 13 of those games and has contributed three goals and three assists, scoring most recently in the pre-Christmas win over Nice.
The France international is a vital player for Les Gones and Goal’s Charles Watts insists the player, also admired by Juventus and Real Madrid and priced at £45m by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, is likely to stay put until the summer.
Explaining Arsenal’s plans for the winter window on his YouTube channel, Watts declared: “They do want to do some business this January, there’s no doubt about it they are looking to bring players in with that creative midfielder type player top of the agenda.
“Arsenal had long-term interest in Dominik Szoboszlai, that isn’t going to happen anymore, he made the move from Salzburg to Leipzig. That’s not one to happen.
“Houssem Aouar was the big talking point of the summer, it ran through most of the summer and it didn’t happen in the end. I always get lots of questions, are Arsenal going to go back in for Aouar in January?
“I can’t see that happening. I’ll say that right now. I just think it’s going to cost too much money. I think Lyon are top of Ligue 1 at the moment as well and you know, flying and really having a go at beating PSG to the title.
“I cannot see there is any way that Aulas is going to let Aouar or any of his top players go at this stage of the season when Champions League qualification is on the line, the title’s on the line and they’ve got such a good chance of winning the title in France.
“That’s not one to think about this January, there’s too much money and too much going on at Lyon for something like that to happen.”
Arsenal have also been linked to Real Madrid’s Isco and Watts insists the Spanish playmaker is the most plausible addition this month.
However, a loan deal for the 28-year-old – who has made just three La Liga starts this season and has been brought off at half-time in two of them – will not be simple for the Gunners.
“If you’re looking for a creative midfielder who Arsenal might well sign, it’s going to be in the loan market and that brings us to Isco,” Watts added.
“A player Arsenal are interested in and a player who does want to get out of Real Madrid in January to get regular game time.
“Those sort of things tick the boxes but there are issues, Real Madrid aren’t too keen on letting Isco out, they haven’t got the biggest of squads, they didn’t sign anyone last summer because of COVID and financial issues going on there.
Arsenal star Lacazette sends transfer message and hails Arteta change
Arsenal explain Diego Costa stance as January transfer window opens
Arsenal transfer news: Former striker has heard two players will leave
“They’re lagging behind Atletico in the title race and are playing catch-up, Atletico are two points ahead and have two games in hand as well.
“Real need everyone during the second half of the season if they’re going to win La Liga so they don’t really want to weaken their squad even though Isco is not a regular starter.
“He does still come on as a substitute fairly regularly so it’s a bit of a waiting game for that. His representatives aren’t sure whether Real will release him this month. There is interest from other clubs in Spain.
“There are rumours in Spain, nothing that I’ve had backed up, that he would prefer a move to Spain if he is allowed to go and a move to Sevilla. I’m not sure if that’s the case or not.
“There are difficulties when it comes to Arsenal signing Isco. But that is the sort of signing that if they are going to make this window, it will be a loan and a short-term option to get them through to the summer when they can have a really good go at it.”
Arsenal meanwhile return to action for the first time in the New Year away at struggling West Brom as they seek a third successive victory.