December 6, 2023

Olympique Lyonnais’ moves at the start of the summer were impressive with Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso returning to the club on free transfers. Lacazette, now 31, spent five years with Arsenal before returning to his formative club while Tolisso, 27, spent the same amount of time away with Bayern Munich, albeit due to regular injury.

There has been speculation that Lacazette and Tolisso may not be the only exes to return home this summer with Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic and Maxime Gonalons also linked to the Groupama stadium families. However, Gonalons has since joined his Ligue 1 rival Clermont Foot 63 and is expected to sign Umtiti at Stade Rennais under former OL president Bruno Genesio rather than join the Lyon Revolution.

Another significant news this summer is the arrival of US investor John Textor after buying a stake of about 40% from former minority shareholders Pathé and IDG Capital as part of a deal that will see the gradual takeover of President Jean-Michel Aulas’ Holnest Group. . The Frenchman, in charge of the seven-time French champion since 1987, has transformed the club into a domestic and European powerhouse that has had rough times in recent seasons, and is expected to oversee the next three years or so on the last OL project. .

“We want to do something unique,” ​​Textor said. “I leave Jean-Michel a lot of freedom because he is very knowledgeable about football and the French market, he knows the business very well. I do not like projects like PSG. If we continue to do what Jean-Michel has for several years and that we bring in entertainment and technology, we will be able to make more money than the Qatari investor “.

This new trend will see the club return to basics which is why players like Lacazette and Tolisso are targeted and more could follow with a fertile youth academy that has produced greats like Karim Benzema centrally in the future. Peter Boss will remain coach despite a disappointing first season on the bench with the Lyon hierarchy admitting several problems were beyond its control with club legend Juninho Pernambucano leaving his role as sporting director mid-season at the height of the turmoil.

Failing to qualify for Europe next season for the second time in the past three years was a setback that helped trigger those changes, but the hope now is that Lyon can return to being a domestic and continental force with their homegrown talent at the fore. OL reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League recently in 2020 and the ambition is to return to this type of stage regularly despite failing to reach the UEFA Champions League final last season.

Lacazette and Tolisso alone will not guarantee Lyon’s return, but their desire to return to their roots aligns with the club’s core values ​​and should help them attract some of the best local talent as they bring through another generation of gems such as Castello Lukeba, Malo Gusto and Rayan Cherki. Johan Lepinant has already arrived from Stade Malherbe Caen while Maxence Caqueret has extended his contract alongside Anthony Lopez and Houssem Aouar could remain.

The revolution does not simply extend to the stadium either, with notable figures from the past such as signing Ludovic Giuli to be part of the project moving forward within the coaching staff. There has also been a change in the image as well with the recent unveiling of the revised logo indicating this new dawn.

The last few seasons have fallen short of expectations but there is undoubtedly the talent in the current crop to deliver a much better performance, especially when you consider non-French talents like Brazilians Lucas Paqueta and Tite. Bosz has the club’s faith at the moment but must build on last season’s experience and make a quick start this time in Ligue 1 to ensure a swift return to Europe and the likes of Lacazette and Tolisso will help him do so as a freshman. The era of the giants of Auvergne Rhone-Alpes has begun.

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