Lofty Ambitions At Lyon

Olympique Lyon look like they are intent on establishing themselves at the top of French football, having previously ruled the country with seven league titles in a row between 2002 and 2008. Since then, and since the introduction of foreign investment at PSG and Monaco respectively, the club have struggled to make an impact in Ligue 1 or in Europe. Last season was a bit of a turning point, when a team, spearheaded by wonder-striker Alexandre Lacazette, secured second spot and the associated place in the group stages of the Champions League.

As a result of his achievements, Lacazette in particular, has been the talk of the hour, and he has become the focus of various top clubs in Europe. Nevertheless, Lyon seem extremely keen on retaining the striker and have now offered him a contract extension that would earn the French international €4 million per season. A look at Lacazette’s statistics for last season do more than justify this amount, as the 24-year old racked up a total of 31 goals and eight assists in 40 official appearances for Lyonnais last season. Since his first-team debut in May 2010, Lacazette has accumulated 69 goals in 184 appearances for the club.

Known for one the country’s best academies, Lyon’s current squad is packed with homegrown talent, with the likes of Clement Grenier, captain Maxime Gonalons and Alexandre Lacazette the stand-out products. Club president Jean-Michel Aulas has always been a very ambitious leader and when Lyon were not competing at the top, the club were at least leading the way from a financial standpoint. However, sporting ambitions seem to have returned to the top of the priority list, and with Champions League football returning to Stade de Gerland next season, financial capabilities might improve.

It remains to be seen as to whether the club will be able to hold on to Alexandre Lacazette, but whatever the outcome might be, more local talent is surely on the way. As the French league continues to improve, so will the position of Lyon and eventually, the club might be able to take the title race right down to the wire.