Who is Houssem Aouar? What we know about the reported Arsenal, Liverpool, and Man City transfer target at Lyon

Matt Davies
AFP via Getty Images

The latest young star attracting interest from the Premier League's elite is Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar.

The 21-year-old - born in Lyon, France and of Algerian descent - is reportedly a transfer target for clubs including Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Aouar, particularly over the last couple of seasons, has emerged as one of Europe's most promising and complete young midfielders.

The Frenchman appears destined to be a big name - and you'll be hearing it during the next transfer window.

Here's everything you need to know about Aouar so far...

Career to date

(AFP via Getty Images)

Aouar has experienced a meteoric rise to prominence seemingly in the blink of an eye, but his Lyon journey actually started at age eight when he joined the club's academy.

It was in 2016 when the talented midfielder signed his first professional contract with the club, making his debut within six months in a Europa League tie against AZ Alkmaar.

Aouar scored his first senior goal just a week later in the second-leg fixture against the Dutch side.

The midfielder - who was nominated for the Golden Boy award in July 2018 - was given the iconic Lyon number eight shirt at the start of the 2017-18 season, despite making just five appearances beforehand.

The shirt has previously been worn by club legend Juninho, who Aouar has revealed is an inspiration of his.

The 21-year-old - who has now scored 24 goals in 133 appearances for Lyon - has also impressed in a number of Champions League games, notably against Man City and RB Leipzig.

To date, Aouar is yet to feature for France's senior team, although he has represented his country at U21 level on 16 occasions.

How does he play?

(AFP via Getty Images)

Well, the youngster has picked up his reputation due to his ability to do it all. Aouar is a versatile midfielder, equally capable of creating from deep, getting in the box to score or putting a last-ditch tackle in.

Primarily, however, it's his technical ability and calmness on the ball that has had Lyon fans raving.

Standing at 5ft 9in, with a ferocious right foot and the ability to both pick a pass and drive forward, there are shades of Luka Modric in Aouar.

Premier League clubs will certainly remember him well...

Interest in Houssem

(Getty Images)

Given the interest from a number of Europe’s biggest clubs, and the fact his contract runs until 2023 at Lyon, Aouar could cost as much as £65m this summer - that's according to the Sun.

The Frenchman was linked with Liverpool last season, but in a bid to break into France's senior team, the youngster opted against the move.

In 2019, he said on the move: "I thought about it hard with those close to me on the decision I needed to take, what was better for my progression. I opted for Lyon because it is the club of my heart and my aim was to succeed here."

On a move to join Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, Aouar was less dismissive, however.

He said: 'It is a great European club and all players have this urge to play for the biggest European clubs, which in addition is led by Guardiola, who for me is a reference as a coach. Guardiola has seen everything before.

'It is extremely good to play his teams and that's what I like, his way of seeing football."

Aouar's comments came after Guardiola raved about the midfielder following City's Champions League encounter with Lyon.​

(Getty Images)

“Houssem Aouar is a very good player, he is incredible," Guardiola said. “We talk a lot about [Tanguy] Ndombele but Aouar is also excellent. He’s always very calm with the ball at his feet, with an excellent technical quality.”

City legend 34-year-old David Silva set to leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expires. Perhaps there's a deal there to be made.

Who will win the battle?

As stated, there are a host of Premier League clubs reportedly competing for his signature. But the interest doesn't stop there. Juventus and PSG have are also said to be in the race, alongside rumours of interest from Spain.

Ultimately, it will come down to finances, the position of the club and how many opportunities the youngster will feel he can get.

Financial difficulties following the coronavirus pandemic may also play their part, unfortunately.

Where Auoar will eventually end up remains to be seen. But for now, he's one to keep your eye on.