Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly set to rival Arsenal for the signature of Olympique Lyonnais sensation Houssem Aouar.

According to a report published by L’Equipe, as relayed by Goal, Arsenal are set to face competition from Paris Saint-Germain in their pursuit of Houssem Aouar, who has been on their radar for nearly a year now.

Aouar came through Lyon’s youth academy and got his breakthrough in the 2016/17 campaign, making three cameo appearances after which he was promoted to the senior team. He went on to become a mainstay for Lyon thereafter and started gaining the attention of big teams in the continent. Patience has turned out to be his friend, though.

In 2018/19, Aouar rose as one of their best players in a Lyon team that had the world watching. He ended the campaign with 7 goals and as many assists, playing in several positions across the pitch including the left-wing. He did not quite mirror his performances last term, but still came in strongly with 3 goals and 4 assists in the league in the absence of star forward Memphis Depay.

Aouar is a wanted man. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
Aouar is a wanted man. (Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

Aouar did, however, display some world-class performances in the Champions League against Juventus in the Round of 16, providing the assist in the first leg, and then winning the penalty in the second. In the quarter-finals, he assisted Moussa Dembele to take the lead against Manchester City. He was the cornerstone of Lyon as they reached the semi-finals on the biggest stage.

In the process, the Frenchman has appeared on the radars of several top clubs, with Arsenal leading the charge. The Gunners first identified him as a target last summer, but have failed to reach a conclusion courtesy of an insufficient budget. This might come to hurt them, now that PSG have joined the race to secure his services.

PSG, despite having a bucketload of midfielders in their arsenal, lack a consistent player who can bring the ball out of the midfield and add extra creativity in the final third as all the burden rests on Angel Di Maria and Neymar more often than not. Julian Draxler has been employed in this role, but the German is far too inconsistent for Thomas Tuchel’s liking.

This problem is all too relatable for Arsenal, who face this problem themselves. Dani Ceballos has returned for a second consecutive loan spell to the London outfit, but there is no player who can take up the burden of innovation in his absence.

Additionally, he can provide cover on the left wing which can allow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to return to his preferred centre forward role. For now, though, it looks like Arsenal could be fighting a losing battle due to their financial issues, and it remains to be seen if PSG end up swooping Aouar away instead.

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