Seven-time French Ligue 1 champions, Olympique Lyon, appear to be on an all too familiar path to rebuilding, following summer activities which have seen Les Gones sanction the sale of majority of their key first-team players.
Prolific forward Alexandre Lacazette, was sold for a club record £52.7million to Arsenal, diminutive attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena was also allowed to join Fenerbahce, Corentin Tolisso moved to Bayern Munich, while long-serving captain and midfield enforcer Maxime Gonalons left in the final year of his contract for a reported £5milion, joining AS Roma.
Coach Bruno Genesio certainly wouldn’t lose any sleep, considering Lyon’s age long history of selling their best players and effortlessly replacing them. When erstwhile poster boy, Karim Benzema was sold to Real Madrid in 2009, the club wasted no time in replacing the prolific striker, recruiting two equally deadly centre forwards- Lisandro Lopez and Bafetimbi Gomis.
The expected sale of Lacazette has seen the club swing into action, signing the duo of Bertrand Traore and Mariano, from Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively. Both forwards do not match the pedigree and scoring rate of the now-departed Lacazette, but it is hoped they will measure up to standard and improve a club who finished 4th last season in Ligue 1.
They appear to be covered in attack following the sale of Lacazette and Valbuena. Maxwell Cornet, who expectedly lost his place in the line-up following the winter arrival of Memphis Depay last season, should earn one of two slots wide, while Depay could potentially enjoy a defining full-debut season occupying the other wide position.
Genesio, as a matter of urgency has to recruit smartly and swiftly in midfield, to make up for the loss of Gonalons and Tolisso, to complement the efforts of Clement Grenier, Sergi Darder and Nabil Fekir.
In a season where their chief competitors, AS Monaco, PSG, Olympique Marseille are all gearing up for one of the most competitive seasons in French League history, Lyon shouldn’t be left behind themselves as they line-up in a now famed 4-3-3 formation, upon which the glory days were built on.