Arsenal target Aouar merits Lyon ban, says Garcia

Houssem Aouar Lyon
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The France international will not feature against Reims on Sunday as the club takes action against his indiscipline

Lyon coach Rudi Garcia says that the decision to punish Houssem Aouar for his recent behaviour was “logical”.

Aouar will not be picked for OL’s Sunday clash with Reims after he refused to warm down with the substitutes last weekend in Angers after he had not taken any part in the match.

Reports in France suggest Lyon elected not to give him game time because they were fearful about him injuring himself on a poor pitch. The player is alleged to have used the same excuse when he snubbed the coach’s request to cool down after the match.

“I’m only going to say this once. It was logical to give him a sanction,” Garcia said during a Friday press conference.

“I suggested some myself. The club decided to remove Houssem from the squad for Sunday’s match. So we’ll play it with the squad at my disposal and of course I respect the decision of the club. My opinion is that this kind of case should be resolved internally.”

Club-mate Karl Toko-Ekambi would not condemn his club-mate too severely.

“Quite simply, he made a small mistake,” the forward said.

“The club has made a decision, which we must respect. It’s not for us to comment on that. Houssem took it well. He trains well and that’s the main thing.”

Aouar has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal for many months, while Manchester City were also considered to be admirers. Indeed, it was expected that a deal would be done in the summer, though the Gunners ultimately failed to match OL’s asking price. Juventus have since been associated with the 22-year-old.

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The once-capped France international has endured a testing season since then, having had several small physical complaints, including a Covid-19 infection and an adductor injury.

He has played seven times in the league for the Rhone side and has scored a couple goals plus bagged a further assist

Aouar was in eye-catching for in the Champions League over the summer months as OL made an unexpected trip to the semi-finals, having dispatched Man City in the last 16 of the competition.