Arsenal can finally end Houssem Aouar saga if Liverpool transfer swoop proves a failure

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Arsenal could finally capture Houssem Aouar if their pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fails. Mikel Arteta’s side have been linked with a move for Oxlade-Chamberlain in the January transfer window, but their Premier League rivals will demand a ‘reasonable fee’ for the former Gunners midfielder if he is to leave on a permanent basis.

Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Jurgen Klopp’s side in a £34million move in 2017, but has struggled to earn a starting role since suffering a cruciate ligament rupture in 2018.

He returned from that setback to help Liverpool win the Champions League in 2019 after almost a year out, but has since had several more niggles including a knee injury which sidelined him for three-and-a-half months last season.

The 28-year-old will have hoped for more action this term following the departure of Gini Wijnaldum, but after lining up for the opening game of the Premier League season he has made just one further start, in the Carabao Cup, as well as three appearances from the bench.

And he is reportedly considering his options after falling behind Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott in Klopp’s midfield pecking order.

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The England international is open to a return to Arsenal, with the Gunners interested in taking him on a six-month loan in January, according to The Sun.

That could include an option to sign him permanently at the end of the season – but Liverpool would want a fair price for him, with Transfermarkt valuing him at £16m.

If a deal can’t be agreed, Arsenal could turn to a long-term target in Lyon playmaker Aouar.

The Gunners were keen on Aouar in last summer’s transfer window, but were put off by the French club’s £55m valuation.

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Lyon had slapped a high price tag on him after he excelled in their run to the Champions League semi-finals, which included a last-eight win over Manchester City.

The 23-year-old has scored twice in his last two games for Lyon, against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 and Brondby in the Europa League.

But his transfer fee is dropping as he nears the end of his contract, which at the end of this season will have just a year left to run.

The Ligue 1 club may therefore be willing to accept a reasonable bid for him when the transfer window re-opens in the new year – and it would be an opportune time for Arsenal to boost their midfield options.

Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny will both be away for the African Cup of Nations in January, while Granit Xhaka is currently out with a knee injury and is not expected to return until late December.

Xhaka will of course need time to build match fitness after returning to training, while any setback in his recovery would leave Arteta severely short of options in the engine room.

So a move for Oxlade-Chamberlain appears to make sense for all parties – but Aouar could be a decent alternative if he can recapture the form that broight him to Arsenal’s attention two years ago.

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