Bordeaux's new signing Yoann Gourcuff demonstrated during the 2-1 win over Caen this weekend that their ambition to topple mighty Lyon from the top of the French league may not be an idle dream.
The 22-year-old Gourcuff, who arrived on loan from from AC Milan during the summer break, scored once and showed his quality as an on-field coordinator during Saturday's match at the Chaban-Delmas stadium in Bordeaux on the first day of the season. The former Rennes player needed fifteen minutes to warm up after the kick-off, then delighted fans with his speed, high level of activity and accurate footwork.
Visitors Caen went ahead with Benjamin Nivet's shot in the 14th minute, but Gourcuff soon equalized. His powerful right-foot shot deflected off defender Jeremy Sorbon and found the goal.
When Bordeaux got a free kick in the 79th minute, Gourcuff took charge and there were gasps of admiration as his ball skimmed on to Fernando Cavenaghi's head for the Argentinian to nod into the net.
Getting to know each other
Gourcuff has had precious little time for training with his new club but the preparation seems to have been more than adequate. "We know each other better now," he says. "I try to serve the forwards in which ever way they want, whether it's at ground level or from a deep position. My primary aim is to create space and movement and to take the initiative with the other midfielders."
"We could do better, if we could score early on, the games would become a lot easier," the midfielder added.
Bordeaux Coach Laurent Blanc said: "In any team it is important to have a technical leader. We had one last year (Johan Micoud) and when he left we replaced him with Gourcuff who is an excellent technical player who can inspire the others to play well. You could also consider Fernando (Cavenaghi) in that category, so having two on the pitch is a considerable advantage."
But the coach warned of risks of having such a dynamic duo: "We need to find a balance so our strike force doesn't paradoxically put us in danger. Right now they obviously get along, but over time we need to ensure that as Fernando and Gourcuff get to know each other better they will avoid treading on each other's toes," he said.