Houssem Aouar 'agrees to join Arsenal', reports claim
He is one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe
Houssem Aouar has reportedly agreed to join Arsenal, with the Gunners now being left the unenviable task of having to agree a fee with Lyon.
The Frenchman is said to have preferred a move to Juventus or Barcelona, but neither team is believed to have tabled a bid for the 22-year-old.
According to French TV station Telefoot, Arsenal's bid was tabled earlier this week, with Aouar's agreement made in the last few hours.
Translated, the tweet reads:
"Houssem Aouar agrees to join Arsenal!
"The Lyonnais player favoured FC Barcelona and Juventus, but had no concrete offers. Upcoming discussions between Lyon and the Gunners are underway to refine the proposed amount."
Aouar is rated at around £54 million, so Mikel Arteta has a lot of work to do in agreeing a fee for the France international.
Arsenal have long wanted to strengthen their midfield, but finances have proved a stumbling block, preventing the North London club from forking out for any of their main targets.
The Gunners hierarchy believe they will have to offload players first.
Defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira has recently been linked with a move away from the Emirates, with sides such as Atletico Madrid and Torino reportedly vying for his signature.
So far, Arsenal have managed to offload goalkeeper Emi Martinez to Aston Villa for a fee in the region of £20 million. But that won't be enough to fund a move for Aouar on a permanent basis.
The Gunners also want to get rid of defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulous and Sead Kolasinac, having made reinforcements in that area with the acquisition of Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes.
Aouar's full France debut was put on hold after the midfielder tested positive for COVID-19, but he has appeared for the Under-21s.