Yoann Gourcuff
Arsenal-target Yoann Gourcuff will not leave Lyon in January. REUTERS

Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their on-going pursuit of Yoann Gourcuff after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas revealed the midfielder will not be leaving the club in January.

The Gunners have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old for a number of years and speculation increased over the summer following the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.

Indeed, Arsenal made an approach for the France international as the August deadline day cut-off loomed but Lyon rebuffed manager Arsene Wenger's overtures.

And Arsenal had again been linked with the playmaker, who has been likened to compatriot and former Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane, with the player struggling to hold down a place in the Lyon first team.

Gourcuff has scored once in seven league games this season but Lyon president Aulas indicated the midfielder was still part of the club's long-term vision.

"Yoann Gourcuff will not leave the team," Aulas is quoted on talkSPORT. "The newspapers are getting it wrong.

"We need him and to add for the Champions League. And if he stays he can use his performances to get himself in the France team for the Euros."

One player who is unlikely to bemoan the latest set-back to Arsenal's pursuit of a creative midfielder is Theo Walcott. The departures of two of Arsenal's finest creative players in the summer led many to write-off the club's hopes of achieving a top-four finish.

But Walcott believes that while Arsenal have been forced to adapt their style and discipline to compensate for their losses, the club have emerged stronger than they were at the end of last season.

"Cesc and Samir were great team players and you lose top players and everyone needs to come together," Walcott told the club's official Web site.

"The manager brought in some good additions and we are a bit more of a team now - and we work harder when we haven't got the ball."