Lyon's Garde plays down Gervinho link
Lyon coach Remi Garde has said he has heard nothing of a reported swap involving Yoann Gourcuff and Arsenal outcast Gervinho with the Ligue 1 club putting their faith in youthful talent.
French media have reported over several weeks Lyon's interest in Gervinho, 26, who enjoys an excellent reputation in France following his significant contribution to Lille's double-winning season of 2010-11.
Though Gourcuff, 27, remains part of Garde's plans at the Stade de Gerland, his status as the club's highest earner means he could be moved on as OL seek to balance their books, and president Jean-Michel Aulas recently admitted the possibility existed that the France midfielder could leave.
His destination, however, seems unlikely to be north London in exchange for the Gunners' unwanted Ivorian.
"That information has not come into my channels. I read that in the press," Garde told Lyon-based newspaper Le Progres. "Gervinho is a forward. We've got forwards, youngsters of real quality."
OL's continued efforts to sell Bafetimbi Gomis, which would leave Lisandro Lopez as the club's only experienced striker, reinforces the policy Aulas has installed of building the team on homegrown talent.
Should he stay at Lyon, where he signed a five-year contract following his estimated €22 million move from Bordeaux in 2010, Gourcuff believes he can contribute to the development of the squad's younger players.
"When I was the same age as these players, it wasn't exactly the same situation," Gourcuff told Lyon's official website. "There were more experienced players around me. But it's good. These youngsters are self-disciplined, focused.
"They need to continue relying on the whole squad. I don't have a particular role with regard to them. I simply wish to transmit them my desire of enjoying yourself and that they feel they can count on me on the pitch. I'm here, available, ready to help them.
The former AC Milan player insisted his own passion for the game remains intact after a difficult, injury-peppered last campaign, adding: "I have a hunger to play, I want to play with the ball as much as possible to get my touch back, and then to re-find that technical understanding with the others without neglecting the physical aspect of things.
"It's important at this time. You have to acquire a good technical and physical basis without wearing yourself out."