LYON president Jean-Michel Aulas has once again confirmed Arsenal are in talks to sign Houssem Aouar.
But in a blow for the Gunners, he stated the £54million-rated playmaker could remain with the Ligue 1 outfit due to the North Londoners struggling to afford him.
Aulas, 71, stressed last week that Mikel Arteta's side didn't have the funds to sign the 22-year-old, and he has once again echoed similar thoughts.
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Speaking to Le Progres via GFFN about Arsenal's pursuit of Aouar, he said: "Financially, Arsenal are like everyone else (in a tricky spot).
"And Houssem could say to himself that the best thing would be to stay with us."
Arsenal are desperately trying to raise cash in order to bring Aulas to the Emirates, having sold Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa for £20million.
And the FA Cup holders still want to offload Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Sead Kolasinac to fund a move for the Frenchman.
SunSport reported earlier this week how Arsenal are doing everything they can to secure Aouar's services, with a new bid expected shortly.
Earlier this month, Lyon sporting director Juninho revealed the club rejected a proposal that would have seen Aouar swap with Matteo Guendouzi.
He told Top of the Foot: "I get on very well with Edu, we spoke on the phone.
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"Aouar is really appreciated by Mikel Arteta.
"Guendouzi was discussed during the call, he is a great player, but he is the wrong profile.
"We are not interested in that at all, we cut the conversation."
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