Cristiano Ronaldo has suggested Arsenal’s top transfer target, Houssem Aouar, as a “plan B” in case the deal for Luis Suarez’s move to Juventus collapses, according to a report from Spain.
Exiting Barcelona star Suarez is on the verge of joining Serie A champion Juventus, but there are some factors causing a delay in the arrival of the Uruguayan striker at Turin. These include Suarez’s contract dispute with Barcelona and the requirements he needs to fulfill to obtain Italian citizenship.
On top of these, Atletico Madrid has also joined the race for the Barcelona striker, and boss Diego Simeone’s influence has the Italian side worried. This led to Juve orchestrating a “plan B,” with Ronaldo now urging his club to make a move for Lyon star Aouar as an alternative, Spanish outlet Don Balon reported.
According to the report, Aouar “surprised” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner during their clashes with Olympique Lyonnais in the past. Ronaldo wants Aouar to join him at Juventus as he believes the midfielder can play a key role in the club, especially for the next Champions League.
Juventus may have a chance to sign Aouar despite his former club Real Madrid already being in talks to sign the player. The reigning La Liga champion has yet to close a deal with Aouar for the 2021-22 season with Madrid president Florentino Pérez now prioritizing departures over new signings.
According to Don Balon, Juventus could capitalize on the delay but would need to match the €49.5 million ($59 million) price tag attached to Aouar. This figure may not be affordable amid the financial crisis caused by the pandemic, but Juve could add some players into the mix to make the deal happen.
But Juventus may have competition for Aouar as well as he is a top target of other big-spending clubs. Sources told ESPN that the 22-year-old has become Arsenal’s “no. 1” target for the rest of the transfer window in the Premier League.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is said to be planning to make Aouar a key player for the upcoming season, hoping to make him an integral part of the “4-3-3 formation” he wants to use.
As for Suarez, insiders told ESPN that the striker is currently in a “tense stand-off” with Barcelona over his departure after new coach Ronald Koeman informed him that he is not part of his plans moving forward. But the 33-year-old, who is paid €25 million ($29 million) gross annually, is requesting to be paid in full for the remaining year in his Barca contract before leaving.
Suarez also needs to pass a language test to obtain Italian citizenship before he can complete his move to Juventus.