Has Houssem Aouar really lost his football?

In 2020, Houssem Aouar martyred Leipzig, Juventus and Manchester City. XXL benefits that opened the doors to a big transfer that ultimately never happened. Since then, the Lyon midfielder is only a shadow of himself.

He’s been waiting for this for more than two years. Holder of an exit voucher since the summer of 2020, Houssem Aouar should finally punch his ticket this winter, for a departure this summer, while his contract ends next June. This Wednesday, Le Gone will not be on the pitch or on the Beaujoire bench while OL face Nantes there. Affected in the quadriceps after the defeat against Clermont ten days ago (0-1), the French international (1 selection) should miss a few weeks of competition. If this absence is not necessarily crucial in the club’s season, two years ago, this unavailability would have been a real pain for the Rhodanians, while the prodigy showed all of Europe that he would be the midfielder. land of the future. From now on, his future lies far from the capital of Gaul, and even further from the France team, while rumors of a change of sporting nationality in favor of Algeria are persistent.

wasted advance

At 25, this probable move from Coq to Fennecs illustrates Aouar’s change in status. Without disrespecting Djamel Belmadi’s team, it’s a safe bet that the midfielder thought he was leaving the Algerian selection in the retro, when he frolicked with the blue jersey for his only cape in October 2020 against the Ukraine (7-1), just after his Final 8 madness. Since this international defloration, the technical Houssem Aouar, master of the tempo, intelligent in his choices and hardworking has been missing. Just like the Champions League at Groupama Stadium. The decline of OL within the hierarchy of French football is also surprisingly modeled on that of the player born in 1998 within the hierarchy of French nuggets in the midfield. At the time, Mattéo Guendouzi, a year younger, had just been sent on loan to Hertha Berlin, while Youssouf Fofana (1999) and Aurélien Tchouaméni (2000) were just beginning to form a formidable pair on the Rock. Just these three players of his generation were in Qatar last fall. Aouar, who nevertheless had a colossal lead, hadn’t hoped to be on the trip for a while.

But now, after this famous Final 8, where he largely contributed to taking OL to the semi-finals, Le Gone did not get what he wanted: to go to a big club. Despite more than successful job interviews against Juventus and Manchester City in the Champions League, neither club jumped on him during the 2020 summer transfer window. Arsenal showed up, offered around thirty million and while the player had already agreed with the Gunners, the two clubs failed to reach an agreement. It is the beginning of a fall for the moment without end for the one who wears the n°8 of Juninho. The following season, he only played an hour per match on average, whereas he had just played two seasons at 80 minutes per match.

bad timing

Very discreet in the media, Aouar only offered a brief explanation for this sudden drop in level and evokes physical glitches. “Last season (2020-2021), what did I play, two games without being in pain? Statistically, it was correct, but I was not fulfilled with my body, I was stuck on accelerations. I was sick. To really heal myself, I should have stopped for a long time. So I continued. As I played intermittently, coming in and out of the team, we could have understood it and said to ourselves that I lacked rhythm. he confided to Release last April. As he says, his statistics are not indecent (eight goals, four caviars), but after two exercises where he had reached ten assists, these four offerings are a stain. With the arrival of Peter Bosz, he scratches a little more playing time (68 minutes per game), but his stats do not take off (eight goals, four assists).

Aouar is on alternating current and shows that the problem is not only physical, but also mental. A player with so much personality and audacity, he turned into a somewhat banal attacking midfielder. Besides that, he also does not embrace the role of leader that could fall to him. He shows all the signs of a boy who no longer has confidence in himself, who no longer wants to be there, and who therefore does the bare minimum. Certainly without this Covid-19 crisis, the purchasing power of large cars would not have been altered, and the native of Lyon would have left to conquer Europe. Maybe he would even have gone to Qatar with the Deschamps gang. But without the Covid-19, Lyon might have been knocked out by Juventus from CR7 during a “normal” round of 16 return. So, yes, Aouar was probably a victim of this timing, of having exploded when the clubs were dry. Surely also that the midfielder has not forgotten how to play football and that deep down he is still this completely magnetic midfielder and conductor. Moreover, when the press sends him to AS Rome, going from Lyon to the club de la Louve frankly does not look like a regression, on the contrary. José Mourinho surely has an idea in mind.

By Leo Peat

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