Transfer news

Lyon insist Gonalons not for sale

June 20, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Lyon have rubbished a newspaper report Maxime Gonalons could leave for Napoli, saying they have "no intention" of letting their captain exit the club this summer.

Gonalons has been linked with a move to Monaco
PA PhotosMaxime Gonalons has been at Lyon since he was 11 years old.

A report in Thursday edition of L'Equipe claimed representatives of Gonalons held talks with Napoli officials in Milan at the end of last week, adding that the Serie A outfit were ready to bid €12 million for him but that OL would ask for more to allow the France midfielder to leave.

However, the seven-time Ligue 1 champions swiftly issued a rebuttal on their official website, declaring they were "very surprised" by the newspaper’s claim about Gonalons, who is also a reported target for Premier League club Arsenal.

"The club would like to remind everyone that it has no intention of allowing its captain to leave, and that it's part of a clearly-defined strategy, that is to continue the sporting development of the club around the best youngsters who have come out of the youth academy, of which Maxime Gonalons is one of the best examples.

"Olympique Lyonnais denies, therefore, any contact or negotiation with the Naples club and regrets an intermediary has suggested otherwise."

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, particularly in reference to speculation linking Clement Grenier with a move away from the Stade de Gerland, has repeatedly emphasised the club's desire to build their future success on homegrown talent.

"OL is not asking for anything [for Gonalons] because he's not for sale. He's our captain," Aulas tweeted on Wednesday when asked about the speculation linking the midfielder to Napoli.

"His agent mustn't make a tour round all the clubs. Max is the Lyon captain of our hearts." Gonalons, who almost had to have a leg amputated in July 2008 after picking up a bacterial infection, joined Lyon in 2000 as an 11-year-old and has been at the club ever since.

He made his first team debut early in the 2009-10 campaign, and played in all but three league games last season as OL finished third to return to the Champions League after a season's absence, being handed the captain's armband in January after Lisandro Lopez rejected the opportunity to lead the side.