Lyon’s long serving chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has admitted the club will need to sell up to three players over the next 12 months in order to balance books at the club. On Monday the club released alarming figures from their fiscal year with a staggering net loss of £22.6 million.
According to French centrepiece L’Equipe he said:
"We plan to sell three players, two in the winter transfer window and another in the summer window, for 30million euros, this will reduce the payroll and the number of active players. For some, the negotiations are well advanced but could not be concluded before the end of the last window."
The Rhone-Alpes club dominated Ligue 1 in the 2000’s, winning the title seven seasons on the bounce but have not managed to repeat that feat since 2008 and last season they finished fourth; their lowest position since a sixth place position in 1997-98. That recent form has seen their finances diminish along with the delayed construction of the brand new 61,556 seater £200 million Stade des Lumieres in Decines. Built by the same company who designed The Emirates, Soccer City and Estadio da Luz it will finally give the prestigious club a stadium to match their ambitions instead of the dated Stade Gerland.
Warning signs were originally highlighted when they sold Miralem Pjanic last summer and this season saw the sales of Hugo Lloris, Aly Cissokho and Kim Kallstrom to cut their large wage bill.
Effectively it leaves three current Lyon players up for grabs but who could they be?
The French international can play at either right or left back and was supposed to tie up a move to PSG in the summer. Ancelotti brought in Gregory Van Der Wiel instead and it leaves Reveillere in limbo. With his contract expiring in the summer any of the Premier League’s 20 teams would want this experienced performer in their ranks.
Another who had a deal collapse in the summer as he was supposedly on his way to Fiorentina before it fell apart amid their interest for Dimitar Berbatov. This still seems the most likely deal but striker shorn Liverpool might be interested in the 29-year-old. However the Argentine was the only player Aulas insisted was not for sale.
Abundantly talented but also wastefully frustrating; the ‘next Zidane’ when he took Ligue 1 by storm for Bordeaux is one of the players being told he can leave in January. His contract expires in 2014 and Lyon would be remiss to allow him enter the final year of his deal. Interest comes from far and wide but previously Arsenal have shown interest while he would make a marquee signing for somebody such as Everton or West Ham.
Another who was on the verge of a deal that collapsed when his move to Al Ain fell through. He was also pursued by Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and his dexterity down the left flank make him a great buy.
Lyon’s top goal-scorer so far this term and a powerhouse striker who would suit the physical style of the Premier League perfectly. Any number of the Premier League’s middle-of-the-run sides would do well to bring in the marksman.
Would you want your side to bring in any of these Ligue 1 talents?
image: © y.caradec