Arsenal’s pursuit of Lyon’s playmaker, Houssem Aouar, and Atletico’s defensive midfielder, Thomas Partey, is well known in the football circles. If you ask an Arsenal fan who they had wanted before the transfer window closes next week, the answer would be “both.” Even though the pairing of Xhaka and Ceballos has worked out, they are not the ones who can take Arsenal to the “next level” as is believed by the Arsenal board members.


It is an open secret that Arsenal are negotiating to sign two midfielders. From the defensive point of view, the Gunners’ defense has not been shielded by the midfield. This is a story that goes back a long way.

Arsenal haven’t been able to find a proper “defensive enforcer” since Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera left. They have tried to replace them with players they believed would take Arsenal to the next level, but none of them established themselves as prominent figures.

Thus, their interest in Partey and Auoar is a no brainer. Mikel Arteta is believed to have identified these two players who he wants. Arsenal has to first sell players to finance any deal. Arsenal, in the past few months, has seen two bids for Partey and Auoar get rejected.

Aouar is believed to be keen on a move to Arsenal. Lyon/Twitter

Given the transfer window is due to shut in a week, the Gunners hierarchy have made the French midfielder, Houssem Auoar, their priority signing. One major reason why a move for Thomas Partey looks unlikely, is Atletico’s unwillingness to do a deal below 50 million euros. They are also reluctant to do any negotiation on an installments basis.

Speaking on his side’s 1-1 draw with Lorient, Aouar agreed to a post-match interview, but on one condition, that he was not asked about his future. When asked if the transfer rumors are disturbing the club, the 22-year-old, who made his 100th appearance for Lyon said, “No, not at all, it does not disturb anything. ‘It’s on the pitch where we have to improve these things. You have to stop hiding behind that.”

The North-London club will try again by submitting another formal bid to Lyon. If that is agreed, there’s no doubt, Arsenal would be a new force in the Premier League.