Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas has strongly hinted that the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, could mean Houssem Aouar remains with the club.

The 22-year-old is believed to be Arsenal's number one target for the remaining weeks of the window, with Mikel Arteta desperate for added creativity.

Thus far, Lyon’s £54million valuation on the midfielder has proved prohibitive, with talks between the two clubs ongoing.

Earlier this month, the French club’s sporting director Juninho, revealed that Matteo Guendouzi had been raised as a potential makeweight, although he was not on their radar.

Aouar has emerged as Arsenal's top transfer priority in the closing weeks of the window

He said: “For now, there is nothing for these players.

“I get on very well with Edu [Arsenal technical director], we spoke on the phone. Aouar is really appreciated by Mikel Arteta.

“Guendouzi was discussed during the call, he is a great player, but he is the wrong profile. We are not interested in that at all, we cut the conversation.”

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New signings Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes both hit the ground running against Fulham but Mikel Arteta is still on the lookout for new signings. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and Brentford keeper David Raya are two of the names on their radar.

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Arteta is busily trying to offload some of the fringe players in his squad, with names like Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasniac and Lucas Torreira all linked with exits.

Emiliano Martinez has already been sold for £20m, with the signs coming out of the Emirates that they will need to sell before they buy.

And Aulas, speaking to French outlet Le Progres has claimed that Arsenal are in a “tricky” financial state – and that could see a move called off.

He said: "Financially, Arsenal are like everyone else (in a tricky spot). And Houssem could say to himself that the best thing would be to stay with us."

Mikel Arteta hinted players would have to leave before new arrivals came in

Speaking after the win vs West Ham, Arteta refused to be publicly drawn on his transfer plans, claiming everything is still on the table.

“Well, depending on what happens with some other players, as I say again, we are open to discussions, the market can surprise us,” he said.

“Teams can come for any of our players in different positions and we have to react, like it happened with Emi.

“So let’s see what happens. Until the market is gone, everything is still open.”