Grenier ignoring transfer speculation
Arsenal target Clement Grenier has admitted he has already made a decision about his future, but is not prepared to reveal it just yet.
The Gunners, in particular, are keen to prise Grenier, 22, away from Lyon where he emerged from the youth academy to become a bona fide first-team regular last season. However, after being called into the France squad for their upcoming South American tour, the stylish playmaker, who has just a year left on his OL deal, has his mind on Les Bleus and not his own future.
"Things are not more complicated because I know what I want, and I know that it's still not the time to talk about it. I want to stay focused on the French national team," Grenier told RTL before admitting he and OL coach Remi Garde had a heart-to-heart recently. "I met with the coach. It's going to stay between us for the moment. We'll see, the weeks will pass. Now I'm focused on the national team because it's something magnificent, you have to enjoy it. Afterwards, I'll go on holiday and we'll see after that."
A pair of sublime free-kicks, scored in the last two games of the Ligue 1 campaign to help OL clinch a return to the Champions League, merely added to the lustre that Grenier has developed this season. Almost offloaded to Nice, against his wishes, last summer, the France Under-21 international was only retained when Yoann Gourcuff, 26, sustained a knee injury early in the campaign. Since, it is the more established former Bordeaux man who has had to accept a bit-part role with Grenier taking centre stage.
"It's been a good year for me, even if there were some difficult moments to go through after my aborted departure from Lyon to Nice. I worked, I wanted to prove to everyone that I was capable of improving and to help the team as much as possible," Grenier said, explaining his decision will not necessarily be dictated by the prospect of featuring for his country in Brazil in a year's time. "No-one knows the future of a player. If I knew whether I should stay or leave to play at the World Cup...the World Cup is still a year away. There are quite a few games to be played before that, a whole season."
Despite the fact they require €25 million this summer to balance their books, a sum which will have to be acquired from player sales, Lyon are upping their efforts to retain Grenier's services. Club president Jean-Michel Aulas, 64, told the club's own TV channel the question of extending Grenier's contract is not one which has only been raised in recent weeks.
"We've been talking to Clement for a while," Aulas said in an interview with OL TV. "Clement had among his objectives playing in the Champions League. We're going to discuss the details of his contract. I've not had an offer from another club. We've got the whip hand: he's got a year left on his contract. OL are going to build a team around our golden generation. We're going to do everything we can to keep those players at Lyon. The strategy is to build around the youngsters. It's a strategy that's working."
That plan has been successfully put in place on the pitch by Garde whose former position at the club's youth academy gave him unique insight into the abilities of Grenier and other homegrown talents such as Maxime Gonalons, 24, and Alexandre Lacazette, 22.
"They fit right into our project, and I want to build the team around them," Garde told L'Equipe before lavishing praise on Grenier. "He's won over everyone. He's done what was necessary to be at the heart of our project for years to come.What I said to him will stay between us, but when I highlight certain players who are no longer part of the project, that in no way applies to Clement. We're going to do everything to keep him."