France news

Gourcuff won't be leaving, says Aulas

August 12, 2013
By Mark Rodden, France Correspondent

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has quashed reports that midfielder Yoann Gourcuff could leave the club despite playing a starring role in their opening day win over Nice.

Yoann Gourcuff made his return to action against Nice
GettyImagesGourduff starred in the rout of Nice.

Gourcuff, 27, scored a brilliant free-kick and made two other goals as Remi Garde’s side triumphed 4-0, providing a reminder of why Lyon paid €22 million to sign him from Bordeaux in 2010. 

However, it did not stop several newspapers from suggesting the club would be happy to offload him. The midfielder, three years into a five-year deal, is still the best-paid French player in Ligue 1 on around €400,000 a month, according to L’Equipe. The paper reported that Lyon would be willing to loan him out if a club paid around half that salary.

But Aulas, 64, hit out at those claims, telling the club's official website: "It's been announced, for example, that Lyon will loan him out while taking responsibility for part of his salary.

"I deny that absolutely. It's false. These are fantasies -- everyone is inventing things. There's no discussion like that.

"Yoann wants to succeed at Lyon. We have to support him. I'm behind him to help him have a very good season at Lyon."

Aulas explained that he had begun discussions over a contract extension, but also said he would not dismiss any inquiries for the player out of hand.

"If there are offers, we'll obviously look at them," he said. Some players have left, others could also do so."

“The transfer window isn’t closed yet,” Gourcuff told Canal+. “In football, a huge amount of things can happen. It can turn upside down from one day to the next. Financially, clubs are in difficulty, and they need to sell or buy players. We’ll see.”

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas did little to dampen the speculation on Sunday, delivering a vague response to a supporter who urged him not to sell Gourcuff. “I’ve never intended to sell him!” he wrote on Twitter. “At worst, someone could buy him from us...”

Lorient, managed by Gourcuff’s father Christian, are the only club to have shown an interest so far.

“Yoann is obviously someone who we know very well,” Lorient president Loic Ferry told Le Telegramme last week.

“We certainly don’t have the means to consider such a transfer... but if Yoann Gourcuff or his agent call me explaining that he’d like to play at Lorient, then we would know how to find a way to make it happen.”

Didier Poulmaire, Gourcuff’s representative, told Le Parisien last week that his client was “open” to a departure from Lyon.

Gourcuff has made just 25 league starts in the past two years, and last season scored only three league goals for the club.

Meanwhile, Le Parisien has reported that Lyon are in interested in signing Bastia attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri -- but Aulas said he believed Roma had already agreed a €2.5 million fee for the player.

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