Houssem Aouar picked up a red card in his match against Montpellier on Tuesday, after which Lyon sporting director Juninho denied any offers for the player.

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Lyon’s French midfielder Houssem Aouar (L) dribbles during the French L1 football match on September 11, 2020. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking after Lyon’s match against Montpellier on Tuesday, sporting director Juninho told the media: “We’ve received nothing for Houssem Aouar, we’ve received nothing for Memphis Depay.”

I wouldn’t worry too much about that at this stage. We know Arsenal are trying to sell to raise funds for their late transfer business, so I didn’t expect a bid just yet anyway.

Aouar earned himself a red card on Tuesday for a late challenge on a Montpellier player. It was certainly soft, but perhaps a bit of a blessing for Arsenal.

For a start, it doesn’t do much for Lyon’s negotiating position. Aouar’s consistently encouraging recent performances were only raising his valuation game-by-game.

The midfielder was having another decent match on Tuesday. He completed five of five attempted dribbles and took four shots in the first half before the sending off.

The player will also serve a suspension, missing at least one game. In Ligue 1, they assign bans on a case-by-case basis, so we don’t know exactly how long he’ll miss yet.

Whatever the length of the ban, it’s time Arsenal can use to progress the deal without worrying about the player drawing new interest, picking up an injury, or similar. Just as importantly, it’s a chance to do some outgoing business to raise the funds.

With Emi Martinez leaving and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new deal, full focus is on ending the window strongly. Bringing in Aouar is certainly a good way to do that.