Lyon face summer of austerity

Lyon have told their supporters to expect little in the way of transfer market activity this summer, with purse-strings being tightened following three years of under-achievement.

"There will not be much movement," said Bernard Lacombe, an advisor to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, in an interview with the club's television channel. "We are looking for an extra defensive midfielder to provide competition for Maxime Gonalons, as well as a central defender.

"In previous years, we have often paid a lot of money to sign good players who we have then sold on for a profit," Lacombe went on. "In the last three years we have spent a lot of money, and won nothing. There are players we would like to move on, but they do not want to leave as they are earning very good money here. There is no point waiting for us to spend large sums on top-level players because we simply cannot afford it now", Lacombe continued, ruling out any prospect of a move for Barcelona and Argentina defender Gabriel Milito, who had been linked with the club.

Despite his stark assessment, Lacombe, a prolific goalscorer with Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux during his playing days, insisted OL "will remain ambitious, with the objective of qualifying for Europe again next year".

In previous years, we have often paid a lot of money to sign good players who we have then sold on for a profit.
OL executive Bernard Lacombe

Lyon, who earlier this summer appointed the rookie Remi Garde as their new coach after the departure of Claude Puel, have yet to sign any new players with the start of the season now less than three weeks away. French international midfielder Jeremy Toulalan has been sold to Malaga for €10million, while Aly Cissokho, Kim Kallstrom and Michel Bastos have all been linked with moves away from the club.

Meanwhile, Lyon are still waiting to discover whether playmaker Yoann Gourcuff will require an operation to cure a niggling ankle complaint that has prevented him from featuring in pre-season so far. Gourcuff showed up well in a fitness test on Monday, but Lacombe said that a decision on whether the former Bordeaux man needs to go under the knife should be taken "within three or four days".

"We mustn't make too hasty a decision, but we also cannot afford to leave it too long," admitted Garde. "If he has an operation then he will face a race to be fit in time for the UEFA Champions League play-off [first leg to be played on August 16 or 17]."