Transfer news

Lyon duo prepared to stay - agent

August 22, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

The agent of Lyon duo Clement Grenier and Maxime Gonalons is confident the highly-coveted pair will remain at the Stade de Gerland even if their club fails to reach the Champions League group stage.

Clement Grenier
GettyImagesClement Grenier was reportedly targeted by Arsenal.

According to L'Equipe's calculation based on 281 European games since 1970-71, OL have a 3% chance of reaching the lucrative round-robin stage of European club football's elite competition following their 2-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad in the first leg of their play-off on Tuesday.

Having overcome Grasshopper Zurich in the third qualifying round, OL are assured of featuring in the Europa League this season, however, and though the lustre and lucre of that particular competition pale in comparison to those of the Champions League, Grenier, 22, and Gonalons, 24, will not seek to leave the seven-time Ligue 1 winners even if they fail to overturn their first-leg deficit in San Sebastian next week.

"The Europa League would change nothing for Maxime and Clement. We had envisaged that possibility when we talked about their future this summer, and we agreed that it wouldn't be catastrophic," Frederic Guerra is reported as saying in Le Parisien. "It's notably on that point that the discussions over Clement's contract extension took their time. I think Lyon's position is the same. If the club changed its mind, they would come and see me, but it seems to me that would be highly unlikely."

Having ended last season in superb form and with just a year left on his contract, Grenier was reportedly pursued by Arsenal before signing a two-year extension last month while Gonalons was linked with a number of clubs, most notably Napoli.

Despite OL's need to boost their flagging finances, which have been refloated by the sales of players such as Dejan Lovren, Michel Bastos and Lisandro Lopez for a total of €30 million, the club was determined to hang on to two of their most prized youth academy products as they seek to found their future on homegrown talent.

They have spent just €3 million in bringing in proven Ligue 1 performers Gael Danic and Henri Bedimo, as well as taking Portuguese full-back Miguel Lopes on loan, but Guerra believes they will have to scrap pre-drawn-up plans to make further additions to their squad if they have to settle for the Europa League.

"OL must have some players under wraps who they might not be able to make come. When you look at the bench, you can see the squad would be a little young if they get knocked out."

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