Lyon are struggling to keep 19-year-old playmaker Houssem Aouar a secret; "he wants to stay with Lyon and Lyon want to keep him," insisted club president Jean-Michel Aulas.
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Name: Houssem Aouar
Age: 19 (born 30 June 1998)
Preferred foot: right
They say ...
"His ability to keep a cool head and manage his emotions impresses me. You can't always do the right thing on the pitch, but he never hides. That is the mark of a great player."
Bruno Génésio, Lyon coach
"He is a very mature player despite his age. He's technically gifted and understands football. It's easy to play alongside players like that."
Nabil Fekir, Lyon midfielder
"It's perfectly natural that he's attracting the attention of the biggest clubs in Europe; he's a very good player, but he wants to stay with Lyon and Lyon want to keep him."
Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon president
Story so far ...
On Lyon's books since he was nine, Aouar (pronounced to rhyme with 'how are') is a versatile midfielder who can operate behind the striker or on the wing, but his ability to pick a pass and take the ball forward marks him out as a playmaker. Having made his senior debut in the UEFA Europa League last season, the Under-21 international is now performing regularly in Ligue 1 and the #UEL – with a Lyon team packed with home-grown talent aiming to reach the final at their own ground. He has reportedly piqued Barcelona's interest too.
Call him ...
'La Pépite' (translation: the Gem, the Gold Nugget)
He says ...
"I am very proud to wear the No8 shirt for Lyon. I am following in the footsteps of great players, but there's no extra pressure. It's a number that matches my style. I saw what [former Lyon No8] Juninho did, watching on TV and in the stadium. It was wonderful. I would like people to think of me the way I think of Juninho."