Transfers: rumors, departures and arrivals… What mercato for the OL this summer?


With the arrival of a new shareholder, OL is looking forward to the future with enthusiasm. While waiting for this change of era to materialize, it is advisable to work well during the summer.

A new era is starting at Olympique Lyonnais. One of the most prestigious French clubs is about to change its majority shareholder. Jean-Michel Aulas will hand over to the American Foster Gillett. A change of power does not always mean a more prosperous future, but in this case there is reason for optimism. The son of the former owner of Liverpool arrived in the Rhone with the intention of improving Lyon and making it a stronghold of French and European soccer. A desire that goes hand in hand of course with the need to invest. The purchase of the shares will cost 600M€, and there will also be 100M€ reserved for the mercato if the operation is completed early enough.

Considering what the big continental clubs are doing at the moment, it is not sure that this amount will allow OL to build an impressive team this season. And recruiting a lot does not necessarily mean doing it wisely. In Lyon, we know this only too well, with all the expenses that have been made during the past years without the expected result.

For the second time in three years, the Gones will do without a European participation. However, the new wind can also bring revolutionary ideas and strategies that can break with what was done before and which led the OL to its loss. The numerous conflicts polluting the club’s organization chart have also hindered the Rhone’s progress. And we can imagine that with a new manager at the helm there would be a new direction taken. But until then, it is important to be smart and in particular for everything that concerns the mercato, both in terms of arrivals and sales.

Olympique Lyonnais didn’t wait long before offering its first summer recruit. And what a recruit! Alexandre Lacazette, the former idol of the Groupama Stadium, returned to the fold after a long stay at Arsenal. Even if he is not very young anymore and he comes out of a complicated season in London, the former French international should be a great contribution to the Gones. With his acquisition, Peter Bosz does not have to worry about the lack of a striker, which led him to court the Iranian Azmoun for two seasons. Lacazette offers him this solution, even though there is no guarantee that he will perform as well as he did during his first stint at the club.

The recruitment of Lacazette was not the only good news of this early off-season for Lyon. There was also the contract extension of Anthony Lopes. The Portuguese stretched his lease until 2025 and considering the performances he has delivered in recent months, it is certain that the OL makes a very good deal by keeping him. Especially since André Onana, another target hoped for by Bosz, preferred not to come to the Rhone. Who knows, in a few months, it may even be that the Gones are happy that their initial plans did not materialize.


OL is looking for experience in the middle
The priority for OL today is to get their hands on an efficient defensive midfielder. Tanguy Ndombélé could have been this element, but the French international has rather disappointed during his six months at the club. Therefore, there is no question of renewing the experience, let alone buy his contract at Tottenham. According to the rumors that are circulating, another Blue is likely to replace him, in this case Corentin Tolisso.

However, bringing Tolisso back home will not be easy. The latter may be free after the end of his contract at Bayern, but he is not necessarily keen to return to his club. Having the ambition to play in the World Cup, he wants to join a team where he can play in the Champions League. Rather than Tolisso, Lyon officials could, in fact, bet on Moussa Sissoko (Watford) or Jordan Veretout (AS Roma). Again, these are two players who have played for Les Bleus and have an excellent track record at the highest level.

Emerson will not be retained
In addition to the signing of a performing midfielder, OL is working on the recruitment of a left-back. Like Ndombélé, the Italian Emerson did not really give satisfaction last season. He should unsurprisingly return to Chelsea. To replace him, the idea of Benoit Cheyrou, the head of recruitment, was to bet on a young foreigner. However, the tracks explored in this sense, and which concern Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord) and Owen Wijndal (AZ Alkmaar) have proved to be too expensive. So we could fall back on cheaper options, such as the Turkish Ridvan Yilmaz (Besiktas). The latter has already been supervised several times, according to what L’Equipe reveals.

It is not only on the sides where OL must bring new blood. In the axis of the defense too, it would be preferable to bring one or more reinforcements. The objective is to compensate for the departure of Jason Denayer. Certainly, Thiago Mendes could help in this position and there is also the return of Sinaly Diomandé on loan, but a center back more would not be too much. Issa Diop of West Ham is targeted in this regard.

OL must also sell before buying
In attack, we should not see great upheavals at the Gones. With the arrival of Lacazette and the probable extension of young Rayan Cherki, the options are numerous in this sector, unless there are departures recorded. That said, the club is still looking to buy an efficient winger. Ideally, they would like to keep the Brazilian Tetê, who was signed for free for the last three months of the season. But since then, he has returned to Shakhtar and the Ukrainian club is asking for at least 25M€ for his services. Unless the new owners come in quickly and inject money into the club’s coffers, this is a bit too expensive for OL.

Of course, and this goes without saying, the reinforcements that OL will be able to afford, as well as their number, will also depend on sales. Without the financial manna linked to a European participation, the room for maneuver remains reduced. There are many candidates for a new challenge, such as Lucas Paqueta (Newcastle?), Houssem Aouar (Roma?), Moussa Dembelé (Dortmund?), but it is also certain that there cannot be mass sales either, or the team will be weakened. After all, we don’t know if we will gain in exchange with the transfers we will get back.

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