Arsenal landed Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid on deadline day, but let’s look at why Houssem Aouar ended up as the one that got away.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 15: Houssem Aouar of Olympique Lyon celebrates following his team's victory in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Manchester City and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 15, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Franck Fife/Pool via Getty Images)
LISBON, PORTUGAL: Houssem Aouar of Olympique Lyon celebrates following his team’s victory on August 15, 2020. (Photo by Franck Fife/Pool via Getty Images)

With Atletico Madrid refusing to negotiate and the Thomas Partey deal on hold as a result, Arsenal started to look into a move for Houssem Aouar. By last week, The Athletic report that the Gunners were ‘confident’ of securing a deal.

Technical director Edu was in regular talks with Lyon’s Juninho, but The Athletic suggest Arsenal’s mistake was completely bypassing Jean-Michel Aulas.

As a result, when they submitted offers, they were well short of Aulas’ expectations. When Aulas set deadlines, the Gunners weren’t ready to meet them. By the closing stages of the window, Aouar was having second thoughts.

After all, in the final days of last week, the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid were publicly showing their appreciation of Aouar, whilst also insisting a deal wouldn’t happen until next summer.

A year longer at Lyon followed by a move to a club certain to be in the Champions League was apparently more appealing than the uncertainty of Arteta’s project. Regardless of how exciting that uncertainty may be for fans.

In Arsenal’s defence, I’m not sure you can blame them for hesitating to offer €50m. It would mean a €100m outlay on two players in the current summer of financial difficulties. That’s without any major sales agreed, bar Emi Martinez.

Given the failure to sell anyone else in the end, spending that much could’ve left them in real financial trouble. But unfortunately, their hesitation seemingly left enough time for Aouar to change his mind. That was what ultimately killed the deal.