Arsenal's transfer pursuit of Houssem Aouar dead as midfielder starts for Lyon vs Marseille on eve of deadline day

ARSENAL'S long-running pursuit for Houssem Aouar appears to be completely dead as Lyon announce the midfielder plays tonight – the day before the window closes.

Aouar starts in midfield as his club host Marseille in France's Ligue 1, killing off fans' hopes of a late revival of a move to the Emirates.

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It's the final blow in a nightmare weekend for Gunners fans who watched on helplessly as talks between Lyon and Arsenal collapsed yesterday.

Reports suggested that Arsenal were unable to meet the French club's asking price after extended negotiations – leaving Lyon officials to pull the plug.

It put an end to weeks of speculation and tonight's news seemingly confirms that Aouar is staying put.

Usually when a player is close to a transfer they are removed from the team.

The 22-year-old's presence appears to kill off any last hopes that Mikel Arteta and co can rescue the deal.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas gave a deadline of Friday evening for a deal to be done for the player.

But Arsenal still appeared not able or willing to stump up the cash.

This is despite days of the North London club desperately trying to shift fringe players like Lucas Torreira and Sead Kolasinac to raise funds.

They have also found their pursuit of Thomas Partey going nowhere in a frustrating end to the window.

Lyon will be hoping the end of the Aouar speculation can help drag them back up to the table.

A poor start to the season sees them sit 15th with only one win from five ahead of tonight's crunch game.

Their opponents Marseille are also off to a dodgy start and sit only two points ahead.

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