Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has reiterated the deadline for Arsenal and any other clubs hoping to sign forward Memphis Depay and midfielder Houssem Aouar, insisting that no players will be leaving the club after Friday evening – three days before the actual transfer deadline.
Notoriously tough negotiator Aulas had already declared that any player involved in coach Rudi Garcia’s thinking ahead of the weekend’s Ligue 1 clash with Marseille will be staying.
Aulas has, however, conceded that two players could yet leave before then. But it means that suitors pursuing Memphis, like Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, and Aouar, like Arsenal and Juventus, have to have a deal in place by Friday, when Garcia chooses his squad for the Marseille game.
Aulas spoke to the media on Wednesday as part of Lyon’s unveiling of new signing Lucas Paqueta from Milan.
“From Friday evening, when Rudi chooses his squad for Marseille, there will be no departures,” the president firmly stated.
That doesn’t mean there will no sales at all, with Aulas admitting two transfer out of the club could be agreed before the self-imposed Friday deadline, and Memphis and Aouar have been the highest-profile players most heavily linked with moves.
“We could see ourselves losing two players,” he said.
But former Arsenal midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide could be included in that number because Hertha Berlin are closely tracking the 22-year-old, although there is ‘no agreement’ as yet.
As for Aouar, Aulas explained that while there is still interest, things ‘haven’t advanced’ because no club has so far met Lyon’s asking price for the player.
“We know that three major clubs – two in the short term and one in the medium term – are interested in Houssem,” he said.
“They are some of the biggest clubs. They have all been in the Champions’ League and have performed well. Talks are difficult. The clubs are not able to provide us with financial commitments.”
Aulas also namedropped Barcelona in reference to Aouar, but noted their financial difficulty.