Arsenal have made Lyon star Houssem Aouar their priority transfer target, according to reports. And that means the Gunners may not necessarily deem Thomas Partey as a necessary acquisition. Both players have been linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium in the wake of their fine performances for Lyon and Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal have already made three signings this transfer window – and want a fourth before the deadline on October 5.
Pablo Mari has moved from Flamengo on a permanent basis, despite making just two appearances during an injury-plagued loan spell last term.
Arsenal signed Willian in August, with the Brazil international moving on a free transfer from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
And they’ve also recruited promising young defender Gabriel Magalhaes, who moved to the Emirates in a £22million deal.
Throughout most of the summer, Arsenal have been linked with Aouar and Partey.
And ESPN claim it’s the Lyon star who is their top target of the transfer window ahead of the deadline on October 5, with Mikel Arteta considering his signing to be of the utmost importance.
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Arteta sees Aouar as a ‘pillar’ of the 4-3-3 formation he wants to use at the club throughout the upcoming Premier League season.
And Arsenal currently lead Manchester City and Juventus in the race to sign the 22-year-old, with the two superpowers choosing to look elsewhere this summer.
However, while that’s the case, the Gunners may struggle to meet Lyon’s £52m asking price for their prized asset.
And while Aouar is ‘desperate’ to leave Lyon for a new challenge elsewhere whether Arsenal can secure the midfielder’s signing late in the day is something only time will tell.
Meanwhile, Premier League commentator Ian Darke has had his say on Arsenal’s transfer window.
And he feels the Gunners should prioritise Partey over Aouar, telling ESPN: “I think they need a little bit of steel in the middle of the pitch, so I think Partey would be a very good signing for Arsenal.
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“I know they’re very keen, but they can’t seem to get that deal done.
“They’ve got Ceballos back of course from Real Madrid, and he did well in the back end of last season, but in a more creative way.
“Both are good players, but I think of the two, I’d say Partey.”
Arsenal visit Fulham in their first match of the Premier League season on Saturday.
And, regardless of who they sign between now and the end of the transfer window, Darke feels they can finish in the top four.
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“I’ve got them finishing fourth,” he added.
“I think Arteta’s changed the mentality of that club completely.
“I think you’ve seen it three times now, every time at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final, the FA Cup final and then the Community Shield against good opposition, I think they’re a different side now.
“I think they do have that capability to go out every week and be pretty consistent as well if they can keep everybody fit.
“They might need to add one or two more between now and October 5 but I can see Arsenal maybe being the surprise team and making the top four ahead of slightly more-fancied rivals [Chelsea].”
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