Arsenal Transfer News: Nabil Fekir's Agent Hints at Lyon Exit

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2018

Lyon's French midfielder Nabil Fekir scores a goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Villarreal CF (VCF) on February 15, 2018, at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France.  / AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

Nabil Fekir's agent has hinted his client could discuss an exit from Lyon at the end of the season. The prolific playmaker is a reported target for Arsenal.

In an interview with Le Dauphine Libere (h/t MailOnline's Robert Cottingham), Jean-Pierre Bernes said:

"If at the end of the season, and this is not the case today, there was a decision to be made, then we would sit down with President Aulas and we would find the right solution."

"Respecting first and foremost Lyon. At home, we do not leave like a savage or after a showdown. Nabil is in a big French club if not the biggest."

"You know very well that at some point, we may be able to ask questions about a departure. The decision will be taken in all intelligence, as professionals, and especially in the interests of all parties."

Bernes also said "Nabil has the personal goal of being part of a top 10 club in Europe."

Fekir could be on the move this summer.
Fekir could be on the move this summer.Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Whether Arsenal fit the mould of a top European club anymore is open to debate. The Gunners missed out on UEFA Champions League football this season and seem destined for the same fate in 2018/19.

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League, 13 points adrift of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who are in the fourth and final qualification spot for Europe's top club competition.

Unless the Gunners win the UEFA Europa League, they won't be playing Champions League football for a second season running. Winning the continent's second-tier tournament won't be easy, with Arsenal facing a tricky quarter-final tie against CSKA Moscow, while the tournament also features powerful sides such as Atletico Madrid, Lazio and RB Leipzig.

Returning to a Champions League level will demand an overhaul of the squad, and Fekir is a talent who would help. He fits the bill as the kind of creative, forward-thinking midfielder that manager Arsene Wenger makes the feature of his teams.

The north London club's interest is well-established, as Cottingham noted Wenger "has long been a fan of Fekir and has tracked the midfielder’s development closely alongside Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi."

Wenger has reportedly tracked Fekir for a while.
Wenger has reportedly tracked Fekir for a while.Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

In February, the Daily Mail’s Steve Stammers named Fekir as Wenger's "top target," with a potential £45 million move mooted.

The France international has scored 21 goals and provided seven assists in all competitions for Les Gones.

Fekir's vision and flair could dovetail brilliantly with Gunners schemers Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Putting this trio behind centre-forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would make Arsenal a potent force in the final third.

Wenger's squad isn't short of midfield maestros, although things could change this summer.

Jack Wilshere is out of contract and a target for Serie A side AC Milan, per La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Tom Coast of Sport Witness).

Wilshere could move on from Arsenal at the end of the season.
Wilshere could move on from Arsenal at the end of the season.MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey's contract is up in 2019, with the Welshman attracting interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United, according to David Woods of the Daily Star.

Landing Fekir would soften the blow of losing either Wilshere or Ramsey. It would also give Arsenal a budding star who can thrive centrally or out wide.