This is a name which is mentioned in our fan base more frequently than our current group of players, in a positive and negative manner alike. While many devote their accounts to him, others go on to say he wouldn’t even be on our bench if signed. But, it is very evident that Chelsea fans on social media are ill-informed by the role he actually plays. While several think he is another ‘regista’, certain people think he will compete with Mount as a second striker or an inverted winger. Through the course of this article, I will attempt to debunk certain myths of this Lyon midfielder.
So who is Houssem Aouar? He is a French-Algerian midfielder who has been at Olympique Lyon since he was 11. Aouar made his debut in the Europa League against AZ Alkmaar in 2017 after coming through the ranks at youth level. He scored his first goal in the reverse fixture against the same opposition a week later.
Unlike what several believe, Aouar is not a deep lying playmaker or an advanced midfielder. He is, in fact a number 8, similar to the role of Loftus-Cheek, being the most attacking in a midfield trio. Hence, the comparisons to Mount or Jorginho are utterly blasphemous to say the least. Aouar is also very versatile, having the ability to play anywhere in midfield or even as a winger. His stand out quality is his creativity and ability to dribble. He is very calm on the ball, can create space for himself and likes to play quick short passes while also excelling at off-the-ball movement. His work rate is also incredible, making him the perfect fit for a team coached by Pep Guardiola.
In fact, this is what the Spanish manager had to say about Aouar after City’s defeat to Lyon in the Champions League : “He (Aouar) is a very good player. He is incredible. We talk a lot about Ndombele, but Aouar is also excellent. He’s always very calm with the ball at his feet, with technical excellent quality.”
This French midfielder is, in short, the full package. His only weakness is his physicality. While not being particularly strong or tall, he lets his dazzling feet do the magic by picking accurate passes and getting past defenders with ease. While several clubs raided Lyon in the summer for Ndombele, Fekir and Mendy, it was a shock to see Aouar go unnoticed. Under the right guidance and management, this player can reach unreal heights.
Should Chelsea be in for him?
While he hasn’t been particularly linked with us, he would be a fantastic signing and a welcome addition to an already incredible midfield. One would be borderline deluded to think that he wouldn’t improve our squad. However, midfield is our biggest strength and we have quality in depth. This is shown by us not struggling as much despite the long term injury to Ruben Loftus-Cheek or the fitness problems of an ever present N’Golo Kante. Other positions, however, have shown the need of reinforcement. In conclusion, would Houssem Aouar improve our squad? Yes. Is he an absolute requirement? No.