Houssem Aouar: Assessing the Candidates to Sign Him & Where He Should Go

It looks for all the world as if the highly coveted, unpronounceably-surnamed midfield sensation Houssem Aouar is on his way out of Lyon this summer.

The Ligue 1 side are ready to cash in on the €50m-rated 21-year-old after a pretty disastrous campaign was curtailed early, leaving them without European football – and strapped for cash – going into 2020/21.

If he does leave, however, where could he go? More to the point, where should he go?

We’ve got you covered.


Arsenal

In an ideal world, sure. In the real world, no.

Even if the famously tight-fisted Arsenal board were able to come up with a suitable offer before someone else beats them to it, it’s difficult to see why Aouar would choose the Gunners over the other teams reportedly in the frame.

A unlikely late charge towards Champions League football could change that and Mikel Arteta would surely working with a midfielder of Aouar’s class, but there are too many variables and too many checks in the ‘no’ column to consider this deal realistic.

Likelihood Rating: 2/10
Suitability Rating: 5/10


Chelsea

The Blues have a big advantage on their London rivals; namely, they have some cash to spend, and are pretty well-placed to return to Europe’s top table again in 2020/21.

They have an exciting young squad with which Aouar would fit in nicely, and with a former attacking midfielder in Frank Lampard as manager, you know he would be well coached if he chose Stamford Bridge.

The issues with this one are more tactically logistical. Chelsea have just spent big on Hakim Ziyech, and with that new arrival, Mason Mount and the less frequently used Ross Barkley all vying for the no.10 spot, another significant investment in a player of Aouar’s ilk would leave the squad looking imbalanced and (even more) top-heavy.

By no means the most advisable move when other areas are in dire need of strengthening.

Likelihood Rating: 4/10
Suitability Rating: 4/10


Juventus

When asked about Juventus’ interest in his signature back in March, after Lyon put Juve on the brink of Champions League elimination with a first-leg win at Stade de Lyon, Aouar said: “I’ve listened to it all with a good deal of pride, but I repeat, I’m going to try not to pollute my mind. “

Alright, so it’s hardly conclusive, but casually dropping in that he is ‘proud’ to be garnering interest is hardly going to kill the speculation, is it?

Juventus need another midfielder like they need another exclusive rights deal with Pro Evolution Soccer…but has that ever stopped them in the past?

Likelihood Rating: 6/10
Suitability Rating: 4/10


Liverpool

Liverpool have been invariably chasing a new creative midfielder ever since Nabil Fekir’s move from Lyon collapsed in on itself two years ago.

Since then, the desire has cooled somewhat – the arrival of Takumi Minamino and the emergence of Curtis Jones making sure of that – but somewhere in the back of Jurgen Klopp’s mind, you get the feeling he wouldn’t mind adding another dimension to his midfield.

Liverpool aren’t overly likely to make any high-profile additions this summer (even Timo Werner appears to be on ice), but if they decide to do so, then Aouar is the perfect fit. He’s inventive, composed, hard-working, and in addition to his fearsome threat from midfield, he’s versatile enough to offer cover for the frequently strained forward line.

Likelihood Rating: 5/10
Suitability Rating: 7/10


Manchester City

Pep Guardiola is said to be a pretty big fan of Aouar. It would be hard not to be, after watching him run the show on two occasions in last season’s Champions League, as Lyon took four points from City.

Guardiola’s side are likely to be on the hunt for a David Silva-sized addition when the summer window opens, and Aouar – who would come relatively cheap by the current market standards – seems to fit that mould.

He’s got all the markings of a Guardiola midfielder, and it would be no surprise whatsoever if City were to go in strong to secure his services. Phil Foden, however, might not be pleased.

Likelihood Rating: 6/10
Suitability Rating: 8/10


Paris Saint-Germain

PSG, like most major clubs in Europe, are going to be watching their finances this summer, but at €50m, Aouar is a snip by their standards.

They have more than enough space in the squad for some added creativity in the midfield third, and considering he fits all their other criteria to a tee; young, French, genuinely prodigious, all that noise; it’s difficult to imagine they are not giving it serious thought.

From Aouar’s perspective, it makes perfect sense too. It’s a chance to take the next reasonable step without venturing too far out of his comfort zone, while also putting himself at a level from which he would be hard to ignore by the French national team, provided he is performing to the best of his ability.

Saying in Ligue 1, there would be no huge adjustment period, while he offers a clear enough step up from the likes of Julian Draxler and Ander Herrera that he wouldn’t find first-team football hard to come by. Like it or not, this one seems right.

Likelihood Rating: 8/10
Suitability Rating: 8/10


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