Lyon's Houssem Aouar Talks Up Pep Guardiola Amid Manchester City Rumours

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMay 26, 2019

LYON, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 19: Houssem Aouar of Olympique Lyon controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Olympique Lyonnais and FC Barcelona at Groupama Stadium on February 19, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar has talked up Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola amid speculation he could join the Premier League champions during the summer transfer window. 

Aouar was asked by Canal Plus (h/t Goal's Ryan Benson) if he would be interested in playing for the Citizens and made it clear how highly he rated the club's manager:

"You wouldn't like to go to City? 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."

However, Aouar also added he is "still under contract with Lyon" and wants to discuss the role he will have after the end of the season.

The Lyon midfielder is one of four players Manchester City are considering bringing to the Etihad Stadium in the summer, according to Jack Gaughan at the Daily Mail. They're also targeting Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri, Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic and Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt.

Aouar has come up through the academy at Lyon and was handed the iconic No. 8 shirt while just 19. The number was previously worn by Juninho Pernambucano, who has returned to the club as sporting director:

Goal @goal

You didn't think we'd mention Juninho Pernambucano without one of his free-kicks, did you? 🚀 https://t.co/ahmaDTyhQA

The 20-year-old is an exciting prospect, capable of playing in a variety of roles in midfield. His impressive performances this season saw him nominated for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award:

Robin Bairner @RBairner

Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year nominees: Houssem Aouar (OL) Jonathan Ikoné (LOSC) Boubacar Kamara (OM) Kylian Mbappé (PSG) Ismaïla Sarr (Rennes)

Aouar was part of the Lyon side that beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad and drew 2-2 at home in the group stages of this season's Champions League.

French football writer Matt Spiro explained after the draw in France why Guardiola may be tempted to land the youngster:

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

Meanwhile, Goal's Robin Bairner says Manchester City have been interested in the midfielder for some time:

Robin Bairner @RBairner

Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar says he's ready for a leadership role at the club but says he'd love to work under Pep Guardiola, whose Man City side have been scouting him on a long-term basis. (Canal+)

Aouar is certainly one of the most exciting young midfielders in France, and it won't be surprising to see clubs express an interest in him this summer.

His latest comments suggest that if Manchester City did come calling, it may not take much to tempt him into joining Guardiola's treble-winning team.