Arsenal transfer round-up as Aouar opens up on failed move plus Saliba latest

Arsenal are preparing for a big few weeks in the Premier League after making a strong start to Mikel Arteta’s first full season in charge.

The London club are currently fourth in the league, having picked up nine points from a possible 12, and are into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

They have a challenging run of games ahead, with Manchester City, Leicester City and Manchester United their next three opponents, but they will go into those games having clinched a deal for Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey – one of several new additions to a growing squad.

We’ve got the latest on a couple of the other players who failed to complete moves to the Emirates Stadium despite strong links, as well as an update on one squad member linked with a loan exit before the domestic deadline on October 16.

Aouar sheds light on how close he was to Arsenal switch

Arsenal agreed a deal for one of their transfer targets on deadline day, snapping up Thomas Partey, but fellow midfielder Houssem Aouar stayed at Lyon.

The Frenchman made his senior international debut on Wednesday, playing 59 minutes for Les Bleus in their 7-1 victory over Ukraine, and spoke to the media about Arsenal’s interest.
"I'm happy to stay at Lyon," Aouar told TF1.

"It's my city, it's my club. It gives me immense pride to represent Lyon.

"It wasn’t really Arsenal or nothing else, although at the end it was close to that. Really, a choice had to be made and I’m happy to stay here.

The 22-year-old has played four times for Lyon in Ligue 1 this season, scoring in a 1-1 draw with Marseille, and has spoken of his “great pride” at continuing to work with Lyon’s sporting director and former playmaker Juninho.

Saliba loan departure no longer expected

William Saliba was close to leaving Arsenal on loan on the European transfer deadline day, but a temporary return to former club Saint-Etienne couldn’t be completed in time.

This prompted suggestions the French youngster could be allowed to pick up experience at a Championship club, with his path to the Gunners’ first-team currently blocked.

However, the Athletic reports that this is no longer likely, revealing that ‘barring a late change of plan it is understood he will be with Arsenal until at least the January window’.

A £25m signing in summer 2019, Saliba spent last season on loan at Saint-Etienne but saw his playing time limited by a combination of injury and the premature suspension of the Ligue 1 season.

The teenager was an unused substitute for the Community Shield, but has yet to make his competitive debut for the Gunners, with the arrival of Gabriel from Lille pushing him down the pecking order.

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New signings Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes both hit the ground running against Fulham but Mikel Arteta is still on the lookout for new signings. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and Brentford keeper David Raya are two of the names on their radar.

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Coutinho reveals Barcelona ambitions after Arsenal links

Philippe Coutinho was heavily linked with a summer move to Arsenal, but a number of changes at Barcelona have seen the Brazilian reintegrated into the first-team at Camp Nou.

Ronald Koeman has replaced Quique Setien as manager of the Catalan club, while high earners including Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal have moved on.

This has brought new opportunities for Coutinho upon his return from a loan at Bayern Munich, and the Brazilian scored his first goal of the season against Sevilla just before the international break.

He is now on international duty, and told the media he is “having a very good time” since returning to his parent club.

"I have returned to Spain with a lot of desire for things to go well and it is also what I want in the national team, every opportunity I have I want to play great games giving my best for the team," the former Liverpool man said.

Coutinho has started three times in La Liga under Koeman, after Bayern opted against taking up the option to sign him permanently.

The 28-year-old scored 11 times for Bayern in all competitions last season, including two goals in a Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona, and an exit to Arsenal or anywhere else looks unlikely at present.

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