Houssem Aouar claims there is no disappointment on his part at having missed out on a summer transfer, with the 22-year-old happy to be “home” at Lyon on the back of a window that saw him heavily linked with Arsenal.
Real Madrid were also said to have cast admiring glances in his direction at one stage, with Zinedine Zidane keeping a close eye on the development of a fellow Frenchman.
No deal was agreed, though, and Lyon made it clear that discussions would not be held as deadline day approached.
Aouar is likely to see interest in his services rekindled in January, with Lyon unable to offer a prized asset European football this season, but he is happy to stay put now.
Quizzed on his emotions after generating so much speculation, the talented playmaker told reporters while on international duty: “Of course I asked myself all the necessary questions.
“I am in the headspace to have a great season with my club and get back the points that we have lost. So of course we are going to try to do the best season and to try to put the team and the club back in its rightful place, at the top of France.
“Disappointed? I am the opposite. I am at home, in the club that I love, with my friends and my family.
“So certainly I have all my bearings and it is giving me even more motivation to have a good season and to bring the club back into the top places in France.”
Arsenal could not find the funds to take Aouar to north London in the last window as they prioritised a deal for holding midfielder Thomas Partey, but the Gunners are expected to make a move when the next opportunity to add presents itself.
“Who is next? Houssem Aouar, we missed you. We didn’t get you this time!” former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has told The Highbury Squad channel on YouTube.
“Whether we can get you in January, I’m not sure, but I’m sure you’re next on the radar for Mikel Arteta and Edu.
“Somebody like yourself to add to the quality of that midfield, attacking, creative side. You hopefully will be a Gunner at some stage in the future.”