Lyon's president Jean-Michel Aulas has attempted to pour cold water on Arsenal's interest in Houssem Aouar by claiming that he doesn't feel the Gunners want to pay the player's asking price.
Mikel Arteta has already added Gabriel Magalhaes, Willian and Dani Ceballos to his ranks this season, while loan deals for Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari were made permanent, but bolstering the midfield has remained high on his list of priorities this summer.
One of the names heavily linked with a move to north London is Aouar, who has been one of the standout players in Ligue 1 in the past few seasons and was fundamental in Lyon reaching the Champions League semi-finals last term.
Arsenal have already seen one bid knocked back - Matteo Guendouzi plus cash - with it expected the club will return with an improved offer before the transfer window shuts. However, Aulas has made comments suggesting otherwise, indicating the Gunners either don't want to, or can't afford his valutation - thought to be around £55m.
"No I don't think so [on whether Arsenal will sign Aouar], no offer yet," he told journalist Chris Wheatley. "It seems that Arsenal don't want to, or can't invest the price for Houssem, who is our best player."
It's widely understood that in order for Arteta to bring any new faces to the Emirates he will have to balance the books with player sales. His interest in Aouar is well documented, but there needs to be movement elsewhere first.
A number of first-team stars have been linked with a move away, including Lucas Torreira, who has not been involved in either matchday squad in the Premier League so far. A Serie A return is mooted, while Sokratis, Sead Kolasinac and Guendouzi are some of the other names who could also depart.
Arteta saw his side trudge to a 2-1 win over West Ham on Saturday, and after the game indicated strongly that he is still looking to add to his squad before 5 October.
"Well, depending on what happens with some other players... As I say again, we are open to discussions, the market can surprise us," he said. "[Teams] can come for any of our players in different positions and we have to react, like it happened with Emi. So let's see what happens."
Source : 90min