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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will prioritise a move for Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar over Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey if his budget forces him into a straight decision between the two players.
The Gunners have signed the likes of Willian, Pablo Mari and Gabriel so far this summer, as well as tying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang down to a new long-term deal.
Arteta wants to make at least two further additions to his squad with Partey, the Ghana international, a leading target. The midfielder has a £45m release clause in his Atletico contract and he’s keen on a move to the Emirates.
However, Arteta has been told he must sell before he can buy again and the club have desperately been trying to raise funds by offloading some of their deadwood.
Emiliano Martinez has joined Aston Villa in a £20m deal and Arteta will be given the money to reinvest in his squad. But Lyon value Aouar at around £60m and he could command wages of around £100,000-a-week.
Should Arsenal try to finance deals for Aouar and Partey, the club are looking of an outlay of £130m on the pair’s transfers and wages.
That’s not something that the Gunners’ board are comfortable with sanctioning in the current financial climate and the Guardian claim Arteta will prioritise a move for Aouar if he has to choose between the two players.
Mohamed Elneny started in the 3-0 win against Fulham and Arteta has spoke glowingly of the Egyptian, meaning he could be set for an extended stay in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield.
That means Partey’s dream move may be put on hold, though Atletico have consistently asked him to sign a new deal to remove the release clause in his contract.