Report: Manchester City Will Face Liverpool Competition for Lyon's Houssem Aouar

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

LYON, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 27: Houssem Aouar of Olympique Lyonnais runs with the ball during the Group F match of the UEFA Champions League between Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester City at Groupama Stadium on November 27, 2018 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Manchester City will reportedly face competition from Premier League rivals Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to sign Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar.

According to L'Equipe (h/t Sport Witness), while City boss Pep Guardiola is a fan of the youngster, so too are the trio of clubs mentioned, with Liverpool noted as having a "true history" with the 20-year-old.

As Tom Coast of Sport Witness relayed, Aouar has spoken to L'Equipe previously about interest from Liverpool earlier in his career.

The playmaker said he opted against joining the Reds, who are said to have approached him before he signed his first professional deal, because it was his "dream" to play for the Ligue 1 side.

Aouar has continued to make steady progress since breaking into the Lyon side in 2017 and is now considered one of the key midfielders in Bruno Genesio's team. He's started all of the side's UEFA Champions League matches, as well as 12 times in Ligue 1.

Two of those games have been against City, and the tyro was especially impressive in the 2-2 draw between the teams on Tuesday.

Guardiola spoke of his admiration for the Lyon man after the game, calling him "incredible."

"He's always very calm with the ball at his feet, with an excellent technical quality," the City boss added, per BBC Sport.

French football journalist Matt Spiro expected Guardiola to be enamoured by the French youth international and compared him to one of the all-time great midfielders:

Matt Spiro @mattspiro

I’d be amazed if Guardiola isn’t a huge Houssem Aouar fan. There’s more than a bit of Iniesta in him and he’s looking the part again tonight

Prior to this season, Aouar had been considered a player with potential. But recent performances have elevated him to a higher status, with the Lyon No. 8 among the best midfielders in the French top flight this season.

He's been stationed in a deep midfield role so far this term, but he's also been pushed further forward and even utilised out on the left flank. Regardless, he's been able to make an impact in all scenarios with his touch, awareness and passing range.

He's grown into a productive footballer, too, regularly chipping in with goals and assists this term:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

🌠 Houssem Aouar has been involved in 9 goals in his last 11 @OL games 😎 Who is the biggest rising star in Ligue 1? #UCL https://t.co/1FYvtqEfQe

Interest from Liverpool would be intriguing, especially given the club parted with massive money to land both Naby Keita and Fabinho in the summer.

However, despite their excellent reputations prior to arriving at Anfield, neither player has hit the ground running for the Reds.

Football journalist Dinesh Kumar believes they will both need time to come good:

Dinesh Kumar @DHardayal

Klopp is very aware of Keita and Fabinho's ability, probably doesn't trust them just yet in his system but it's only a matter of time before they're both regular starters

Lyon would surely demand massive money for the Frenchman, as he is developing into one of the most exciting prospects in European football. With so many clubs said to be interested in him, the price would surely be pushed up.

It would be easy to see Aouar fitting in at City, although players like David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden would make it difficult to get regular minutes. If one of Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea were able to offer the midfielder a first-team spot, that might present an issue for City.