Arsenal have reportedly backed down from their pursuit of Olympique Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar in the January transfer window.

During a Q&A session at The Athletic, David Ornstein has offered an update regarding Arsenal’s pursuit of Houssem Aouar. The reliable North London based journalist has claimed that the Gunners have cooled their interest in the Olympique Lyon playmaker.

In addition to Aouar, Arsenal are also unlikely to make a move for Christian Eriksen, who was recently confirmed to be available in the upcoming January transfer window. Instead, the club has expressed their interest in Borussia Dortmund star Julian Brandt as Mikel Arteta looks to reinforce his attacking department next month.

The Spaniard’s desire to invest in a new playmaker stems from Mesut Ozil’s rapid fall from grace. The German has been ostracised from the first-team this season, notably getting omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League squad. In addition, newer players like Nicolas Pepe and Willian have both failed to provide the goods in the final third.

It has ultimately forced Arsenal to appear heavily dependent on the services of some of the younger players in the squad including Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, both of whom were outstanding in the recent win over Chelsea.

Houssem Aouar is a man in demand. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Houssem Aouar is a man in demand. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

While Aouar is technically not an out and out number ten, his quality on the ball combined with his fiery form in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League saw him heavily linked with a move to Emirates in the summer. The move, unfortunately for Arteta, did not materialise, with the Gunners ultimately settling for the more defensive-minded Thomas Partey.

That said, Arsenal’s disastrous start to the campaign now sees them in danger of missing out on European football altogether unless they manage to defend the FA Cup title or win the Europa League. It doesn’t reflect well on their chances of landing a top player in the transfer market either, so the end of the pursuit of Aouar makes sense from the club’s perspective.

It is also fair to point out that the Gunners aren’t the only club interested in the services of the Frenchman. In fact, the Olympique Lyon midfielder has most recently been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, who are bracing themselves for an overhaul in the upcoming January transfer window.

Arsenal’s reported pursuit of Brandt or even Isco, therefore, makes much more sense. Both the players are struggling at their current respective clubs and could welcome the opportunity of reviving their career at Emirates.

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