It’s no secret that one of Arsenal’s main targets this window is Lyon’s Houssem Aouar. The French midfielder has caught the attention of Europe’s top teams and his club’s need to raise funds has made him a viable option for the Gunners. The Ligue 1 club have slapped a €60m price tag on the 22-year-old, a fee Arsenal will have to sell players first to achieve. They initially offered Matteo Guendouzi in a swap deal, but Lyon swiftly rejected that. However, Arsenal’s slowness to reach Lyon’s asking price has allowed Juventus to swoop in and seemingly become the front runners.
In a report from ESPN Deportes, Juventus have reached a €65m agreement for Houssem Aouar, with €25m being paid this summer and €40m next. If true, Arsenal will have to look elsewhere in the market to satisfy Mikel Arteta’s demands.
Here are three alternatives for Houssem Aouar.
#3 Marcel Sabitzer
What Mikel Arteta is looking for in a midfield acquisition is a creative force that can bridge the gap between attack and midfield. Mesut Ozil’s time at the club is coming to an end as his off the ball work rate isn’t up to the manager’s liking. Arsenal finished 15th in the league last season for chances created, something Marcel Sabitzer would help to address.
The versatile RB Leipzig midfielder has been a driving force for the German team in recent years. Last season, the Austrian created 2.2 chances per 90. In terms of productivity, the 26-year-old scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists in 44 games. According to transfermarkt, RB Leipzig would be willing to part ways with him for just over £30 million- two thirds the price of Aouar.
#2 Emi Buendia
Last season, there weren’t many players more creative than Emi Buendia. Despite playing in a poor side like Norwich, the 23-year-old was a standout player in the Premier League. As an attacking midfielder that can play out wide too, Buendia played his part for Norwich by creating 3.1 chances per 90. However, he was only able to provide 7 assists in 36 games due to the poor conversion rate of his teammates.
The 23-year-old has proved that he can hack it amongst the Premier League’s best and wouldn’t look out of place at a top 6 club. His vision, ability to bring others into the game, close control in tight spaces and composure in the final third will make a perfect fit for Arteta’s Arsenal. Due to the relegation of Norwich, Buendia would be available on the market for £15-£20m.
#1 Jack Grealish
England’s best midfielder has been linked with a move away from Villa Park for what feels like an eternity. It’s clear that his talent is bigger than Aston Villa but the club’s valuation of him has scared off suitors. And now today, Jack Grealish has signed a new 5-year deal to keep him in Birmingham till 2025. It’s unclear as to whether his new contract will have a release clause or not. Grealish still has ambitions to play in Europe and today’s news will not change those aspirations.
Last season, Grealish created 2.6 chances per 90 and had 18 direct goal involvements in 41 games. The midfielder has had to carry his teammates on his back and was the sole reason for them avoiding relegation by 1 point. In a bigger and better team, the midfielder would have less of a burden to carry. Arsenal may not be able to afford Jack Grealish in one sum, but a payment structure could quite easily be agreed.