Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has ruled out Yoann Gourcuff and Lisandro Lopez leaving the club in January, despite acknowledging the Ligue 1 leaders' wage bill needs to be slashed.
Earlier this season, Aulas announced the seven-time French champions would need to sell three players this season, including two in January, to balance the club's books, which are some €28 million in the red. However, Argentine international Lisandro and French playmaker Gourcuff, who has yet to fully justify the €22 million Lyon paid Bordeaux for him in 2010, will be going nowhere.
"So that the club is in good health, we have to lower our wage bill during the transfer window. We've had to think about things a little more. Given the exceptional bunch of youngsters we have, our thinking is to make the fewest changes possible. Concerning Lisandro and Gourcuff, there has never been any debate [about them leaving]," Aulas explained to radio station RMC before rubbishing recent speculation Lisandro is bound for Florence.
"It's pure fantasy. I've not had an offer from Fiorentina, whose president I know well. Lisandro said that he hasn't been contacted, we haven't been either. He doesn't want to leave, and I don't want to let him go."
The question remains: which players will be sacrificed to fill the hole in the club's finances? Brazilian Michel Bastos, who scored the matchwinner in Sunday's derby at Saint-Etienne, and leading scorer Bafetimbi Gomis, who this week declared his desire to finish the season at Lyon, appear the most likely candidates.
"I'm going to meet [Gomis] soon. If he's convinced he wants to stay, it's because he has reasons to take that decision. His contract ends in 2014, and we cannot get to June 2013 without having renewed his contract or without him leaving," Aulas explained.
"As for [Michel] Bastos, there may be offers, we'll have to look at them. I'm going to see the players involved personally after the last league game against Nice, and the board will take a decision, taking into account the players' opinions in particular."