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Jul 18, 2013

Mavuba hoping to stay at Lille

Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba has said he is unlikely to join the exodus from the French club this summer after being reunited with Rene Girard.

Lille captain Rio Mavuba
Mavuba is hoping to help Lille return to European football

Girard, 59, replaced Rudi Garcia as coach at the northern club last month after leaving Montpellier, once again linking up with Mavuba whom he coached during his four-year spell in charge of France's Under-21 side.

• PSG sign Digne from Lille

Having missed out on European qualification for next season, Lille have allowed first-team mainstays Dimitri Payet, Lucas Digne and Aurelien Chedjou to leave the club this summer, and more may follow.

However, Mavuba, 29, has two years remaining on his contract at the Grand Stade, and told L'Equipe he should still be in the squad next season after discussing the future with his new boss.

"If there's an offer that everyone's happy with why not? But I have in my mind the idea to go again for another year. Talks with the coach have confirmed that he's counting on me, that - in his eyes - I'm a link between him and a young squad," Mavuba, who was made Under-21 captain by Girard for the 2006 Under-21 European Championships, said.

"You don't know what can happen between now and September. I'm not worrying about that. And nobody at the club has told me to my face that I have to leave."

The France international, who has nine senior appearances to his name, was part of the Lille side that won the double in 2010/11 under Garcia before the squad was stripped of a number of key elements, such as Eden Hazard and Gervinho. 

Having recovered from the disappointment of slipping out of the European places to finish sixth on the final day of last season, Mavuba is optimistic Girard, who won the Ligue 1 title in 2011/12 with an unheralded Montpellier squad, can have similar success with a Lille side few will expect much of in the coming campaign.

"After the double, with the new stadium, everybody expected to grow. Now it looks like Paris and Monaco are ahead of us. Everything goes very quickly. We have to sell our best players like Chedjou and Payet. And it's hard to renew things," Mavuba, who is still working his way back to full fitness after two left-knee operations in the last 12 months, added.

"These situations aren't always simple but in terms of motivation it's not a problem because we've often changed the squad since winning the title. And it would be fantastic to get back into Europe with this generation. Honestly, we've got the quality. You're going to have to count on Lille to stir things up."

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