Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has aimed a little dig at Arsenal over their pursuit of Houssem Aouar, saying the Gunners cannot afford to sign the midfielder.
Mikel Arteta has already been busy in the transfer market this summer but is keen to bring in a new central midfielder, with both Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey and Aouar on Arsenal’s radar.
However, little progress has been made on a deal for either player with the north London club needing to offload players – and raise funds – before dipping back into the market.
Despite the interest in Aouar, Lyon chief Aulas says the French club have received no official offer for the 22-year-old and does not expect him to move to the Emirates this summer.
Asked if Arsenal are likely to agree a deal for Aouar, Aulas told journalist Chris Wheatley: ‘No I don’t think so.
‘No offer yet. It seems that Arsenal don’t want to – or can’t – invest the price for Houssem, who is our best player.’
Speaking at his pre-match press conference before facing West Ham on Saturday, Arteta intimidated that the club would need to sell a number of players, and balance the squad, before pursuing more targets.
Asked if Arsenal need to sell before they buy, Arteta explained: ‘We are trying all the time to adjust the squad in the most efficient way.
‘It is clear at the moment that it has to go both ways and in order to achieve that we still have some time but we are pretty clear in what we are trying to do.’
On the specific links with a new midfielder, he added bluntly: ‘Sorry, unfortunately I cannot talk about players that are not at our club but I appreciate the question.’