You have to have a little bit about you to be gracing both Barcelona and Liverpool’s transfer wishlists.
After Philippe Coutinho swapped the latter for the former in January, the Reds are looking for a long-term replacement.
And they think they’ve found him.
According to Goal, Liverpool are heavily interested in signing Lyon star Houssem Aouar after missing out on him as a youngster.
Indeed the 19-year-old turned down the Anfield move before signing his first professional deal in favour of furthering his development in France.
Why is there such a fuss?
Aouar really is the archetypal modern midfielder.
The classy middle man has had a brilliant breakthrough season with Lyon, helping them compete both domestically and in Europe.
Brilliantly technically, Aouar’s ability to seemingly glide across the pitch makes him one of the most eye-catching young talents on the continent.
He is typically a playmaker, but his versatility has been the main attraction this season – so the Coutinho comparisons are obvious.
The French-Algerian prodigy has excelled as a deep lying playmaker, on the left wing and as a number 10.
Aouar told L’Equipe in November: “I’ve always played in the middle, so the role of hard-working midfielder is the one that I like the most.
“But I like the left wing, too. It allows me to work and to develop other skills. I’ll adapt to anything.”
Aouar regards Lyon icon Juninho as a role model, along with fellow Algerian-descendant Zinedine Zidane.
After only making his debut against Monaco last April, he’s gone on to make 32 appearances in all competitions this season.
Aouar has registered five goals and three assists in that period and sparkled against PSG in Lyon’s famous 2-1 win over them last month.
Aouar is far from alone with the Ligue 1 side boasting one of the best emerging young generations in Europe at the moment.
Following on from the success of academy products Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir, the likes of Mariano, Maxwell Cornet, Tanguy Ndombele and Lucas Tousart are all 24 or younger.
And Aouar’s affiliation with his roots remains strong.
“I still live with my mum,” he confessed to L’Equipe.
“Playing in big matches and having cameras trained on me, afterwards to go back to her place, it allows me to keep my feet on the ground – that’s important.”
For now Lyon is the perfect setting to encourage his talents to blossom even further, but it won’t be long before the big boys make their move.
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