Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar were Arsenal’s priority targets in this summer’s transfer window. It looked at one point that we were favourites to sign the Frenchman, with the Atletico Madrid man proving to be too expensive.
However, things took a drastic turn in the final few days of the transfer window. Arsenal decided to abandon their pursuit of Aouar and triggered Partey’s release clause on deadline day. All the formalities were completed quickly and the Ghanaian put pen to paper to become our latest Gunner.
What really happened in our pursuit of Aouar? Did Lyon refuse to sell him? Or did the player himself reject a move? France Football have revealed what went on, and it looks like Edu wasn’t too keen to sign the French international.
The report claims that Arteta really wanted Aouar at Arsenal and even explained his plans to the Lyon star. He wanted the Frenchman to be his Kevin de Bruyne in a 4-3-3, but Edu and the Gunners boss’ desire to get the deal over the line wasn’t reportedly on the same level.
After Arsenal’s opening bid of £31 million plus about £3 million in add-ons was rejected, Edu told Lyon that he needed time to discuss things with Stan Kroenke and co. That was the final bit of communication between the two clubs, and our technical director eventually preferred a move for Partey instead.
Arsenal could go on to regret this decision. Aouar is a fantastic player who would have filled a void in Arteta’s side. The Frenchman has incredible vision and is a fantastic dribbler. He can score, assist and have a real impact in the final third; something that we have lacked recently.
However, Edu deserves the benefit of the doubt. His reasons are unknown and the complications in the financing of the deal could have played a big part. Even without Aouar, Arsenal have had a fantastic transfer window.
Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes, Alex Runarsson and Partey are all solid signings, and Edu deserves a ton of credit for getting those deals over the line. With the January window just over a couple of months away, we might well make another move for Aouar, but the competition this time will be a lot more than it was last month.