ARSENAL could be gazumped in their bid for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar – with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain making a move.
And the Gunners' transfer hopes could flounder after Lyon revealed the Londoners only wanted to pay in instalments.
Real Madrid and PSG have been told they can have the player on loan for the season – if they agree to pay £45million in full next summer.
But other sourcesclaim the French club are ready to come down to £36million – £9m less – for their star midfielder.
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But they want it all paid up front.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has two days left to complete the transfer.
Juventus have already pulled out of the race.
Lyon turned down Arsenal's £31m bid earlier this summer.
The player is thought to have agreed terms with the Gunners and favours a move to the Londoners.
Arteta lost out on Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey as they wanted £45m – all up front.
Both Atletico and Lyon have indicated that the Gunners simply do not have enough money to pay all the money in one hit.
They prefer deals spread over a couple of years after losing millions due to the Covid-19 shutdown and fan ban.
PSG transfer chief Leonardo revealed his club wanted to bring in 22-year-old Aouar.
He said: “Right now it is a bit complicated, he is interesting a lot of clubs. He is a dream for us.”
Arteta is trying to find the cash to give Lyon what they want for Aouar.
He has already sold keeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa in a £20m deal.
Ainsley Maintland-Niles is also available for around £30m.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette could also be sold if a big enough bid comes in for the 29-year-old.
According to French newspaper L'Equipe, Lyon will let Aouar leave on a season-loan – as long as the fee will be paid in full at the end of that period.
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