Houssem Aouar admits Arsenal transfer was “close” as he again explains decision to stay

Houssem Aouar has opened up on his failed transfer to Arsenal one again by explaining why he opted not to move.

French midfielder Aouar was heavily linked with a switch to the Gunners for most of the summer, as Lyon chiefs Jean-Michel Aulas and Juninho spoke out about the saga.

However, despite even potentially coming down to a deadline day deal, Aouar remained at Lyon, with Arsenal turning their attention to Thomas Partey.

It’s thought a move broke down because the Gunners did not want to meet Lyon’s demands.

But Aouar doesn’t appear to be frustrated that a deal did not go through, having previously opened up on the move in a similar vein.

Houssem Aouar has explained why he decided to stay at Lyon despite interest from Arsenal
(Image: Getty Images)

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Instead, the 22-year-old insists he is happy to stay with his boyhood club for the time being, and is focussed on the season ahead.

“I’m happy to stay at Lyon,” he told TF1. “It’s my city, it’s my club. It gives me immense pride to represent Lyon.

“It wasn’t really Arsenal or nothing else, although at the end it was close to that. Really, a choice had to be made and I’m happy to stay here.

Arsenal opted to sign Thomas Partey instead from Atletico Madrid
(Image: 2020 DeFodi Images)

“I spoke about it a lot with sporting director Juninho. He shows me confidence every day and it’s a real pleasure to work with him. To stay here for another season – or more – with him, it’s a great pride.”

Aouar also revealed Lyon’s objectives for the season after their disappointing start, which has seen them win just one of their opening six games so far.

“The top three is the minimum objective this season,” he went on. “Lyon is one of the biggest French clubs, so we must be as high as possible.”

Champions League semi-finalists Lyon are back in action on Sunday when they travel to Strasbourg.