Lyon confirm Arsenal, Barcelona targets Aouar, Depay to stay

Houssem Aouar - Arsenal
ALEX MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

Lyon have all but made their stance official and final: in-demand stars Houssem Aouar and Memphis Depay will not be leaving the club during the current transfer window despite long-rumored interest, and multiple bids, from Arsenal and Barcelona.

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Arsenal have spent the vast majority of the window chasing 22-year-old midfielder Houssem Aouar, for whom Lyon have steadily insisted would leave for no less than $60 million. Arsenal came close to matching Lyon’s valuation, but only after factoring in add-ons to the initial fee. The biggest bid reported to have come out of the Emirates Stadium still fell a few million dollars short after future fees.

This is something of a bitter pill for Arsenal to swallow, as Aouar appears to have been their primary target for this window, yet they are now likely headed for Monday’s deadline empty-handed. It’s impossible to know how many more readily attainable players they rejected in their pursuit of Houssem Aouar, but it’s undoubtedly a nonzero number.

There are, of course, questions over whether another attacking midfielder is actually what the Gunners needed, or if they would have been better suited prioritizing massive improvements at defensive midfield instead. Regardless, Aouar’s quality would have added something significant to their squad and his transfer value would have only appreciated over time. The lack of a full-scope transfer plan appears to have bitten Arsenal once again.

The whole of Arsenal’s transfer dealings can be summed up rather quickly: Willian signed on a free transfer from Chelsea and defender Gabriel arrived for $31 million from Lille.

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As for Depay, Barcelona were immediately linked with the 26-year-old forward after Ronald Koeman’s appointment as manager. According to report, Barca never came close to meeting Lyon’s (unknown) valuation of Depay, thus he will remain at the club for the 2020-21 season.

You can watch our special transfer deadline day show on Oct. 5 from 4-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN as our analysts break down all of the late deals and drama.

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