Arsenal dealt blow as Houssem Aouar rules out Lyon exit in January

Arsenal are keen on signing Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar
Arsenal are keen on signing Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar (Reuters)

Arsenal target Houssem Aouar insists he will remain at Lyon until the end of the season and has ruled out the prospect of a move in the January transfer window.

The French midfielder was one of Mikel Arteta’s top targets in the summer window but the Gunners were able to reach an agreement with Lyon, who were holding out for a €60 million (£55.5m) transfer fee.

Last week, Arsenal’s hopes of a potential deal in the upcoming window appeared to be boosted after Aouar was dropped from Lyon’s squad over his alleged refusal to take part in a warm-down session after his side’s win over Angers.

But in an interview with RMC Sport, Aouar has said that he will be staying at Lyon ‘until next summer, at least’ and has denied suggestions that he is not happy at the club.

‘I do not see how I could be unhappy in my city, in my club. That is something that I do not understand,’ Aouar said.

‘I am very happy to be here, I took the decision to stay with the club that formed me, I savour every day I have here.

Houssem Aouar intends to see out the season with Lyon
Houssem Aouar intends to see out the season with Lyon (AFP via Getty)

‘Everything that I want, is to put this club back in its rightful place with my team-mates.

‘I am very happy to be here, we have an enormous amount of ambitions for this season.’

Aouar also claims that his decision not to take part in the warm-down session, which led to his exile from Lyon’s matchday squad the 3-0 win over Reims on Sunday, was a ‘misunderstanding’.

‘There is nothing serious. It started with a misunderstanding,’ explained Aouar.

‘What you need to know is that against Angers I did not play because of the quality of the pitch.

‘The coach told me that I had to avoid playing on it because of my adductor injury. I refused to do the warm-down after the game for the same reasons.

‘The next day was a rest day but I came back to the club with the coach and the physical trainer to catch up with this session on a better surface.

‘It’s an injury that I’ve been carrying for over a month and a half, so I wanted to be careful.

‘Honestly, there is no problem, I respect Juninho’s decision. He’s a club legend, he knows what he’s doing.’

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