• Man City boss Guardiola ‘likes’ Lyon star Aouar, claims Juninho

    Lyon sporting director Juninho said Pep Guardiola “likes” Houssem Aouar amid links to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    Aouar has reportedly emerged as a target for Guardiola’s Premier League giants City and Ligue 1 champions PSG following his exploits for Lyon.

    The 22-year-old French midfielder – also linked to the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal – played a key role in Lyon’s memorable run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019-20.

    Asked about Aouar’s future and interest from PSG and City, Juninho told RMC Sport: “I think that has been happening directly with agents. We were not directly contacted. Maybe Vincent Ponsot [director general] was contacted by Manchester City, I am not sure.

    “It is like that with these two teams, two enormous teams who play to win the Champions League every year, they have the capacity for that and that makes any player dream. I don’t know if Houssem is ready to change project for a big Ligue 1 team like PSG.

    “For City, of course Guardiola likes the player, but is that the profile that they are looking for today? We don’t know that either and we have not received any official offers.”

    Juninho also discussed former forward Alexandre Lacazette and rumours linking Barca defender Samuel Umtiti with a return to Lyon.

    Lacazette left Lyon for Arsenal in 2017 but he has found himself playing second fiddle to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in London, while Umtiti – who departed the French club a year earlier – reportedly finds himself on the transfer table.

    “In January I called Alexandre Lacazette to chat a bit with him because he was having problems at Arsenal and I said to myself, ‘Why not do a loan for six months with us where you will enjoy yourself, play all the games and score the goals like you know how to? And then you go back to Arsenal or somewhere else,'” Juninho said.

    “But from the moment that you start looking at the level of the contract of these players, like with Juventus and Barcelona, it is not possible for us today. Today, we have to tell the truth, we cannot pay the salary for a player like Umtiti.

    “We have to be honest with the supporters. But if the player is looking for a project, is willing to make an effort maybe with a longer contract, wants to come home, then I will go and get him straight away.”

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