Mercato: Karl Toko-Ekambi, a 100% Lyonnais Lion

Cameroonian striker Karl Toko-Ekambi, presented to the press after his signing at Olympique Lyonnais, January 21, 2020. Philippe Desmazes / AFP

Text by: Nicolas Bamba Follow

While Olympique Lyonnais is sailing in troubled waters with the premature end of the 2019-2020 Ligue 1 season and an uncertain future, the Rhone club has exercised the option to buy Karl Toko-Ekambi. Loaned in January by Villarreal, the Cameroonian striker has committed for four years. OL thus secures at least one tip for the next exercise.


Read more

By seeing Jean-Michel Aulas fight against the decision to end the 2019-2020 Ligue 1 season, amputated because of the crisis linked to the coronavirus pandemic , we almost forget that at the beginning of this month June is also the time to prepare for the 2020-2021 season. And if the president of OL does not give up his fight, behind the scenes, a first stone of the next building in Lyon has been laid and cemented.

Tuesday, June 2, Olympique Lyonnais formalized the recruitment of Karl Toko-Ekambi for the next four seasons.

See this post on Instagram

Olympique Lyonnais is pleased to announce that it has exercised the purchase option for striker @karltokoekambi, 27, from Villarreal (Spain). The Cameroonian international has signed up for 4 seasons with the Rhone club. This exercise of the purchase option follows the temporary transfer that took place in January 2020. It amounts to € 11.5 million to which can be added a maximum of € 4 million of incentives as well as a profit-sharing of 15 % on the capital gain of a possible future transfer (50% if the transfer takes place before 15/09/20). 📸 @damienlgphoto 🇬🇧 We're pleased to announce we've taken up our purchase option on Karl Toko Ekambi, who's signed a four-year deal!

A publication shared by Olympique Lyonnais (@ol) on June 2, 2020 at 9:08 am PDT

He convinced in just two months

The 27-year-old striker, African champion in 2017 with Cameroon , was loaned to Lyon by the Spanish club from Villarreal since January. With the interruption of competitions in mid-March, Karl Toko-Ekambi did not have time to show himself very much. In the space of two months, he played 12 games (Ligue 1, Coupe de France and Champions League combined), scored two goals and distributed three assists.

Sufficient playing time and performance, however, for Olympique Lyonnais to decide to exercise the player's purchase option. First sold in January by the "yellow submarine" in the form of a paid loan of 4 million euros, the former player of Paris FC and Angers is recruited for the next four seasons. As specified by Lyon, the option to purchase this transfer amounts to 11.5 million euros, to which “  may be added a maximum of 4 M € of incentives (bonus, note) as well as 'an incentive of 15% on the capital gain of a possible future transfer (50% if the transfer takes place before 15/09/20)  ”.

The uncertain future of Aouar, Dembélé and Depay

The recruitment of the Indomitable Lion, versatile on the front of the attack, is also part of the vagueness that surrounds Olympique Lyonnais. The club, 7th in Ligue 1 at the time of the end of competition, is not qualified for a European Cup next season (it may play the next Europa League if it beats Paris Saint-Germain in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue, scheduled for August). And during the summer transfer window, several OL offensive weapons could pack up.

Attacking midfielder Houssem Aouar is announced elsewhere. Moussa Dembélé is rumored to be highly courted in England by Manchester United. There is still the Memphis Depay case, whose heavy injury in mid-December 2019 (as well as that of Jeff Reine-Adélaïde) in mid-December 2019 motivated the arrival of Karl Toko-Ekambi. The Dutch’s future is unknown at the moment, but it could be written far from the capital of Gaul.

Cameroonian Karl Toko Ekambi, winner of the 2018 Marc-Vivien Foé Prize. RFI / Pierre René-Worms

The fifth Cameroonian striker in OL history

With the recruitment of Karl Toko-Ekambi, winner of the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize in 2018 , OL at least secures the services of an experienced striker, convinced since his arrival and experienced in Ligue 1. The Rhone club ensures moreover, that his final recruitment "  confirms the ambition of Olympique Lyonnais to give itself the means to be at the highest level next season  ".

He is the fifth Cameroonian striker in the history of OL, after Guillaume Moundi and Eugène N'Jo Léa in the 1960s, Joseph-Désiré Job in the late 1990s and Clinton Njie (2011-2015).

Newsletter Receive all international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all international news by downloading the RFI application


  • Soccer
  • Cameroon
  • League 1
  • Sports

On the same subject

Marc-Vivien Foé Prize: review of previous editions

Marc-Vivien Foé Prize 2020: the 11 nominated to succeed Nicolas Pépé