The last chance for the turnaround

Houssem Aouar has long been considered a huge talent and one of the hopes for the future of French football. In recent years, however, the 24-year-old Olympique Lyon midfielder has suffered a number of personal setbacks. A change could bring a change to the Bundesliga to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Manchester United, Juventus Turin, Arsenal FC, Liverpool FC, Atlético Madrid or AS Roma – there were only a few top clubs in European football that Olympique Lyons Houssem Aouar hadn’t considered as possible destinations in the recent past. Again and again the 24-year-old midfielder was about to change clubs, but at the end of the day a transfer was never completed.

In fact, Aouar has never been under contract to a club other than Olympique Lyon in his professional career. He joined the youth ranks of Les Gones at the age of 11 and has played for the club from his hometown ever since. In 2017 he made the leap to the pros via all youth departments, where he made a rapid ascent within a very short time.

Already in his debut season he established himself under the then OL coach Bruno Génésio as a regular player in central midfield, he only missed ten competitive games due to injuries or suspensions. In the years that followed, he was able to consistently deliver these performances, which gradually drew the attention of one top club after the other.

In the summer of 2020 alone, three European heavyweights, Arsenal, Juve and Liverpool, signaled an interest in signing the then 22-year-old. Aouar had just led his team to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they had to bow out against eventual winners Bayern Munich.

But the bosses of Olympique Lyon around President Jean-Michel Aulas demanded no less than 80 million euros for the services of the technically highly talented midfielder – too much for the interested parties from the Premier League, who henceforth refrained from signing.

Juventus Turin was also too high the declared sum, which is why Aouar had no choice but to continue lacing his shoes for Les Gones.

Houssem Aouar: Only 444 competitive minutes in 2022/23

A setback from which, looking back, he never really seems to have recovered. After Lyon’s transfer blockade, the performance of the former model student broke continuously, and his performance weakened from season to season. This culminated in the current season, where he was on the pitch for just 444 competitive minutes (11 appearances).

In addition to his poor performance on the pitch, Aouar has been struggling with recurring, minor injuries. While he was struggling with an ankle injury at the start of the new season and missed the first nine Ligue 1 games, he was sidelined in early January with a muscle injury. Another injury came in mid-February, after which he was once again doomed to watch two games. In calendar year 2023 alone, Aouar missed eight out of twelve matches, he was only on the pitch for 56 minutes.

This was also reflected in the national team. He made his debut and last assignment for the Equipe Tricolore in October 2020. Since then he has not been considered for the French selection, which is why he recently received the drastic step of a dressing change. Djahid Zefizef, President of the Algerian Football Association, confirmed on TV Chaine 3that Aouar will wear the kit of the North Africans in the future: “Houssem Aouar gave us his consent to switch to the Algerian national team.”

Not the best conditions to apply for a transfer to a new club, one might think. However, interest in the 24-year-old is still unbroken. According to information from sports1 Eintracht Frankfurt, among others, have switched to poker for the midfielder. Regardless of the personal sporting crisis, the SBU managers apparently want to sign Aouar next summer.

At Eintracht he could succeed Daichi Kamada, whose working paper is expiring and who is likely to join league rivals Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer. A fee would not be due for Frankfurt, after all, Aouar’s contract is also only valid until the end of June 2023. Only in terms of salary and a possible earnest money would you have to agree with the 24-year-old.

To the sports1According to the report, Eintracht has already made a first attempt in this regard. 250,000 euros monthly basic salary and a signing fee of five million euros are in the room. Nothing is set in stone yet, however. “So some people already know where I’m going to play next season before I do – that’s strong,” the midfielder told himself via Twitter to the rumours.

Houssem Aouar: ‘I love these types of players’

In terms of quality, Aouar could undoubtedly help Eintracht if he can build on his past performances and is largely spared injuries. As an agile, technically adept midfielder who, if necessary, can also act a little further up behind the striker, he fits perfectly into the dynamic game of the SGE.

“He’s incredibly smart, just how he moves between the lines, he never goes a meter too far or too little. He smells the game, he’s really good at anticipating. Before he even has the first touch of the ball, he already knows what he will do in the second”, his current coach at Olympique Lyon, Laurent Blanc, recently enthused about his qualities: “I love this type of player because they are also extremely elegant on the ball and the spectators come to the stadium because of them.”

According to the former French national coach, the 24-year-old still has weaknesses in defensive behavior. “He still needs to be more consistent, that’s clear, and he also needs to improve in the game against the ball. He can do that much better and he knows it,” Blanc continued. On a personal level, there is still room for improvement. According to various media reports from France, Aouar is sometimes not easy to integrate into the team structure.

Houssem Aouar in the profile

Surname Houssem Aouar
Birthday 06/30/1998
Place of birth Lyons
Old 24 years
Size 1.75 meters
nationality Algeria/France
positions central midfield, attacking midfield
Foot to the right
societies Olympique Lyon

Houssem Aouar: Eintracht Frankfurt as a last chance?

It is unclear to what extent Aouar himself is open to a move to Frankfurt. It was only in the last winter transfer window that the doors were open to him for a move to AS Roma in Serie A, according to RMC Sports However, he had reservations about the project in the Italian capital and rejected a change in his own interest.

However, staying with his home club seems almost impossible. “Houssem has wanted to leave for a long time,” said former France goalkeeper Grégory Coupet, who won seven league titles as a player with OL. “He’s seen everything at Olympique. He needs to develop. For that he needs a new challenge. A move will only do him good.”

Frankfurt Eintracht would offer him the perfect home in this regard. In the comparatively calm SBU environment, Aouar could work his way back to his top form bit by bit. There has been plenty of evidence in the recent past that young players are in good hands in Frankfurt. And finally, for the midfielder, a lot depends on the course of the coming months.

At 24, he’s still young enough to tackle the tournaround and turn his undeniable potential into consistent top performances. Eintracht Frankfurt might be his last chance. “He could certainly be an asset in the Bundesliga thanks to his technical qualities and his strength with set pieces,” agrees Coupet.

Leave a Comment