Lyon to make peace with Beftimbi Gomis
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has restated his readiness to eat humble pie and ask Bafetimbi Gomis to remain at the club following the forward's aborted transfer to Newcastle United.
Aulas had been outspoken in his criticism of Gomis for the striker's refusal to leave the seven-time Ligue 1 champions with just a year left on his contract.
With his club in need of a return on the €15 million investment they made to coax the 28-year-old from Saint-Etienne in 2009, Aulas suggested the athletic goal scorer needed to move to have a chance of playing at next year's World Cup while Gomis was told to train with the reserve team in pre-season.
However, following Lisandro Lopez's surprise departure for Qatari side Al Gharafa last week, Gomis is now the club's sole experienced forward, and having extended an olive branch via the club's official website on Monday, Aulas told L'Equipe 24 hours later he is ready to offer a peace deal to the player, who had appeared set for a switch to north-east England after the clubs agreed a €8 million fee only for the move to fall through.
"The circumstances have changed. Newcastle broke off negotiations, and we haven't had other offers. The most logical solution would be for everyone to show a little humility, myself in particular, so that he extends his contract by a year. But there are conditions, notably with regard to what [coach] Remi [Garde] wants to do."
Aulas had previously stated Gomis was no longer part of the first-team picture and that the club would put its faith in youth academy talents, assisted by Lisandro. Gomis could supplant the departed Argentine international, but L'Equipe claims the striker, who has rejected a number of moves to the likes of Rubin Kazan and Fulham over the last year, has no intention of remaining at the Stade de Gerland.
Perhaps anticipating Gomis' reluctance to make an about-turn, Aulas added Lyon were looking for "a player to replace Lisandro. A centre-forward or someone who can play on the flank."