We ‘signed’ Houssem Aouar for Arsenal in the summer transfer window to see what could happen


With Lyon feeling the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and a shortfall from TV rights, Arsenal are being heavily linked with a move for their star midfielder Houssem Aouar this summer.

The French club have previously confirmed that they’ve lost around almost £96million in income this season, and with the Ligue 1 side also failing to qualify for the Champions League in 2021/22, Arsenal may finally be able to get their man this summer.

The 22-year-old was valued at around £55million by Lyon in the summer of 2020, but is likely to be available for significantly less than that figure in the upcoming summer transfer window.

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So, what if Arsenal did manage to pull off the signing of Aouar in the 2021 summer transfer window? And, what kind of impact could he have at the club next season?

To have a bit of fun and try to predict the future, we used Football Manager 2021 to see what could happen with Aouar at Arsenal.

We ‘signed’ Houssem Aouar for Arsenal in the summer of 2021

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2021 editor to arrange for Lyon midfielder to join Arsenal in the summer 2021 transfer window, using FM21 to run our simulation.

Aouar has three goals and three assists in Ligue 1 this season

The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.

In addition, each annual iteration of Football Manager has built-in algorithms which check for outliers and data discrepancies. Data accuracy is further ensured by input from contributors who are active within the professional game (players, agents etc.) who provide regular feedback.

This is what Aouar’s profile looks like on Football Manager 2021, as of July, 2021.

We then simulated the entire 2021/22 season on the game, to see what kind of impact Aouar could have at the Emirates Stadium from the summer transfer window.

Before we go into the simulation, in addition to the manual signing of Aouar from Lyon, Arsenal also signed Kalvin Phillips, Patson Daka, Emerson, Eric Garcia and Yonatan Cohen in the 2021 summer transfer window.

Mohamed Elneny and Willian were sold, whilst Eddie Nketiah was sent out on loan.

Here’s what happened!

Houseem Aouar’s 2021/22 season for Arsenal

With Arteta largely sticking with his 3-4-3 formation, Aouar and Thomas Partey was the most common partnership in the centre of Arsenal’s midfield, with Matteo Guendouzi, Emile Smith-Rowe and Kalvin Phillips all having to settle for a rotation role.

Granit Xhaka sustained a serious knee injury at the start of this simulated campaign and missed the whole season.

In his first season in English football, Aouar had an impressive campaign, scoring eight times and providing 16 assists in all competitions, with the Frenchman making 51 appearances in all competitions.

After a strong season in terms of creativity, only two players registered more assists than Aouar in the Premier League.

The current Lyon midfielder registered 10 assists in 33 appearances, with only Mateusz Klich and Kevin De Bruyne registering more throughout the season.

At the end of every season, Football Manager 2021 calculates the best performing eleven of every side, including the statistically best performers throughout the campaign and putting them into a preferred formation.

Arsenal’s best team at the end of the 2021/22 season was as follows; Leno; Gabriel, Garcia, Holding; Bellerin, Aouar, Partey, Tierney; Nelson, Daka, Saka.

New signings Garcia, Aouar and Daka were all included, with Lacazette, Aubameyang and others having average seasons by their high standards.

So, with how did Arsenal perform in all competitions in our simulated season with Aouar in the team?

Here is how the final 2021/22 PL table looked in our simulation.

Arsenal couldn’t quite break into the top four, despite a superb end to the 2021/22 campaign, with the Gunners ending the season with 68 points, just three points off Chelsea in fourth.

But when you compare this with their recent points tally’s, this simulated season is a significant improvement.

In 2019/20, Arsenal earned just 56 points, with the Gunners currently on track to earn around a similar amount this season, but likely even fewer, earning just 34 points from 25 games so far this season.

The Gunners even ended up with a major trophy in our simulation, with Mikel Arteta’s side winning the FA Cup on penalties, beating Liverpool in the shoot-out.

Overall, Football Manager predicts that Houssem Aouar would be a great signing for Arsenal next season, adding both creativity and goals to the Gunners midfield, with the Frenchman being one of the most creative players in the league.

The simulation also suggests that with Aouar, Arsenal could achieve a much-improved points tally, even winning a major trophy too, but more investment would be needed if they are to break into a very competitive top four place.

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As always these simulations are just one way of predicting a player’s prospective impact, but it’s interesting to see how Aouar could perform for Arsenal, if the midfielder did sign for Arteta’s side in July!

Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. The latest edition of the game, FM21, is out now on PC, Mac, Mobile, Touch and Xbox.

The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.





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