Yoann Gourcuff has been told to go abroad to revive his flagging career by one of the men who helped make him one of French football's most promising talents.
Jean-Louis Gasset, 59, was Laurent Blanc's assistant coach as the pair guided Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title in the 2008/09 season with Gourcuff, 26, playing a brilliant, influential part in the triumph.
Though the artful midfielder continued in the same vein in the early part of the following campaign, his form - like his team's - tailed off as Blanc was confirmed as the new France coach while a €22 million move to Lyon in summer 2010 has proven a huge disappointment with OL reportedly looking to offload their highest wage earner this summer.
"He should go abroad so that people leave him alone. In France, as soon as he takes his shirt off, everyone takes a photo of him. Let him re-find the joy of playing that he should have at his age," Gasset told RMC. "It takes time to talk about Yoann Gourcuff's case. He produced some nice things on the pitch at Bordeaux. He gave us the impression that he had the qualities and the potential to be a key player in French football. A guy with the talent and the looks to make a career, but things seem to be difficult for him since he moved to Lyon."
Gasset's view is clearly shared by Blanc, who - despite Gourcuff's mediocre form for OL - invited the ex-Rennes and AC Milan midfielder to his pre-Euro 2012 training camp only to finally decide against taking him to Poland and Ukraine. Often criticised for his lack of communication skills and self-imposed isolation, Gourcuff reportedly had heated arguments with international team-mate Franck Ribery during Les Bleus' turbulent 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa. Gasset insisted the Breton-born player, the son of Lorient coach Christian, was misunderstood.
"Yoann has character, but he's a boy who needs to speak about things and be happy," he said. "He's passionate about football. He could talk to you for hours about it. But if he feels he doesn't have people's confidence and he goes into himself, he doesn't produce anything. He needs confidence."