Soccer

Lyon chief drops Houssem Aouar transfer hint amid links to Premier League trio

Lyon's sporting director Juninho Pernambucano has admitted the club are at risk of losing star midfielder Houssem Aouar amid interest from three Premier League clubs.

The 22-year-old has attracted attention for his impressive performances domestically and in the Champions League this season.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City are all being linked with his signature and could make a move this summer.

Juninho told RMC Sport : "Houssem Aouar? When you have great players in the squad, it is quite logical that other bigger teams with greater economic power come to seek the players.

"There is a risk of losing important players. If we lose important players, I have already spoken with the president, we will have the right to balance the workforce."

Aouar was on form again last week as Lyon knocked Juventus out of the Champions League to set up a quarter-final clash with City this Saturday.

The Frenchman has made 38 appearances in total so far this season, scoring nine times in the process and providing seven assists.

Lyon failed to secure Champions League football for next season through their league position, meaning they will only qualify by winning the competition this month.

That could hand City and Chelsea an advantage in any transfer discussions as both have already booked their spot.

Lyon are not prepared to let Aouar go without a fight though, and will command in excess of £40million for his services.

"Houssem has not said he wants to leave," club president Jean-Michel Aulas said, "We want to try to keep him even though the interest is considerable. There are no negotiations ongoing."

Lyon could also face a battle to keep hold of forward Memphis Depay, who is reportedly being lined up by Borussia Dortmund as a potential replacement for Jadon Sancho.

Man Utd are still working on taking Sancho to Old Trafford in a £108m deal, and Lyon chiefs are said to have Depay in their sights if their star winger flies the nest in the coming weeks.

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