ARSENAL have been joined by Real Madrid and Juventus in the race to sign Houssem Aouar – as Lyon conceded they may have to sell him.
The young midfielder, 22, starred for the French side in the latter stages of the 2019-20 Champions League to garner attention from some of Europe’s biggest.
And having missed out on a spot at Europe’s top table for the upcoming campaign, Lyon’s sporting director Juninho Pernambucano has confessed Aouar could leave.
Frenchman Aouar is of Algerian descent – and is said to idolise Real Madrid star Karim Benzema and manager Zinedine Zidane.
In fact, Aouar and Benzema’s families know each other as they are from the same area of Lyon.
Madrid chief Zidane is another France star of Algerian descent and is said to be very “attentive” in his pursuit of Aouar, according to Mundo Deportivo.
With Los Blancos now said to have entered the race for the exciting centre-mid, the Spaniards could hold the edge.
But they face competition from Juventus and Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.
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The Gunners have already seen an offer of Matteo Guendouzi plus cash for Aouar rejected by Lyon.
The Ligue 1 club – who WON’T be in next season’s Champions League after finishing their domestic season seventh – are holding out for £54million.
On missing out on the Champions League for next season, Juninho refused to dwell on it, despite having reached the semi-finals in 2019-20 – where Aouar starred in the 3-1 quarter-finals win over Manchester City.
But he confessed in-demand Aouar – along with Moussa Dembele – could be sold as he finally admitted defeat.
Juninho told RMC Sport: “The aim now is to continue working, immediately with Ligue 1.
“We will have to work. If we continue like this, we will be back in this competition.
“When you are well paid, you need motivation every day, we are going to concentrate on Ligue 1. There are the basics.
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“There will be departures, but I am not worried.
“When you have players who play very well in a competition like this, like Moussa and Houssem…
“We will have to show the same spirit to be back in the Champions League next season.”