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Mar 14, 2013

Lyon chief leaves door open for Gourcuff

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has told RMC radio that he still hopes to get a return on his huge investment in playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.

Yoann Gourcuff
Yoann Gourcuff has struggled during his time at Lyon

Aulas signed Gourcuff from Bordeaux in August 2010 for a fee believed to be more than €20 million, but the talented midfielder has failed to reproduce the form that helped Les Girondins win the Ligue 1 title in 2009 and reach the last eight of the Champions League the following season.

The France international has made just 47 league appearances for Lyon, scoring six goals, with injuries preventing him from finding any consistency.

Aulas had been keen to get Gourcuff off his wage bill, with his estimated annual salary of €6.7 million making him one of France's highest paid sportsmen, according to a recent L'Equipe survey.

Arsenal are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for the player in the past, but Aulas has also left the door open for him to stay put.

"It is the glorious uncertainty of sport. I believe in Yoann because I brought him to Lyon three years ago now," he told RMC.

"If he came to Lyon, it's because he thought that Lyon would allow him to continue the excellent form he produced at Bordeaux. And I think that a player doesn't just lose his talent.

"A player can express it in a more or less strong manner. He can have difficulties with injury, psychological problems, and problems with his surroundings."

With Gourcuff's contract not due to expire until the summer of 2015, Aulas added: "We are trying to create an environment which will allow Yoann to once again become the player he was. And that is entirely possible.

"We spent money to get him because it was the only way he would leave Bordeaux. We have two years left to get a return on our investment."

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