French Ligue 1

Lyon's costly recruits hit it off together

September 24, 2009

Olympique Lyon spent €70 million in the transfer market and even coach Claude Puel has been surprised at how quickly they are seeing a return on the investment.

The seven-times French champions, who host Toulouse in Ligue 1 on Saturday (1900 GMT), lost their crown to Girondins Bordeaux last season and then saw Karim Benzema head off to Real Madrid.

They responded by signing Argentine's Lisandro Lopez as a replacement for the France striker and recruited one of the league's top midfielders in Brazilian Michel Bastos from Lille, as well as France forward Bafetimbi Gomis from St Etienne.

The new boys have had an immediate impact on Lyon's performances and they lie second in the standings two points adrift of Bordeaux.

Lopez, who netted four in a 8-2 aggregate victory over Anderlecht in a Champions League third preliminary round, has scored two goals and set up another from four league games.

Gomis has scored three from six games, including a last-gap equaliser at Paris St Germain last weekend.

"It was expensive but that is how the market was," Puel told L'Equipe this week.

"It is nice to see them performing so quickly. They have already brought a lot to the squad."

"We bought them because we knew them well, so I am not surprised to see them play that well, but we did not expect them to hit it off together so quickly," he added.

Paris St Germain, who have conceded five of their seven goals in the last 10 minutes of their games, travel to Lorient on Saturday (1700) in a bid to stay within sight of the leaders.

Third-placed Olympique Marseille travel to Valenciennes knowing they can count on Argentine midfielder Lucho Gonzalez, who scored one goal and set up another in a 4-2 win against Montpellier last weekend.

"I knew there were a lot of expectations surrounding me", Gonzalez, who joined Marseille from Porto, told the club's website on Wednesday.

"As time goes by, I am feeling better and better."

Leaders Girondins Bordeaux host fourth-placed Stade Rennes on Sunday in a clash between two of four unbeaten teams in Ligue 1 this season.