• L'Equipe

    announced Thursday that the return to Lyon of Alexandre Lacazette (31), free of any contract after his five seasons at Arsenal, would be formalized in the coming days by Olympique Lyonnais.

  • A big blow for Jean-Michel Aulas and OL, at the end of a completely missed season, finished in 8th place in Ligue 1, and therefore without European qualification.

  • 20 Minutes

    reacts to several supporters, enthusiastic about the possible arrival of Corentin Tolisso, or even Samuel Umtiti, in their training club this summer.

A hat-trick for the last derby at Gerland, the first goal in history at Parc OL, before a new feat in the Lyon jersey to launch a new era?

What seemed to be only a dream of supporters a few months ago, barely more achievable than a return of Karim Benzema, is becoming concrete: Alexandre Lacazette will, according to

L'Equipe

, commit in the coming days with Olympique Lyonnais.

Arriving at the end of his contract with Arsenal, after 71 goals in 206 games (from 2017 to 2022) with the Gunners, the 31-year-old striker immediately embodies the hope of a revival on the Lyon side, after the terrible season concluded at 8th place in Ligue 1.

“Given our season and the absence of the European Cup, we cannot hope to find another player than him of this level, summarizes Richard, accustomed to the south bend.

If ever OL manages to sign both Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, it would save a lot of time as these players know all the workings of the club and have legitimacy here.

“If Moussa Dembélé was still a goal machine in 2022 (17 goals in L1 since January), the much more technical profile that Lacazette presents is perceived with excitement by many Lyon fans.

"A whole generation has dreamed with Lacazette, Fekir, Tolisso and Umtiti"

“He knows how to make others play well, he is generous on the field, notes one of them, Gary (38).

He will also bring a lot to the group mentally.

He is the perfect hyphen we were waiting for.

Namely this former hope of the club who has become an executive and even captain at Arsenal, and now able to guide the emergence of new revelations from the OL academy such as Castello Lukeba, Malo Gusto, Rayan Cherki and Bradley Barcola.

Are the Lyonnais now keen to see the two great pals of Alexandre Lacazette arrive during his good years in Lyon, namely Corentin Tolisso (free after five seasons at Bayern Munich) and Samuel Umtiti (lost at Barça for four years)?

"I would like OL to allow 'Sam' to rebuild himself and become the player he was," confides Gary.

It was an exceptional generation and their adventure has so far had a taste of unfinished business in Lyon [the League Cup final lost in 2014 against PSG and 2nd place in Ligue 1 in 2015].

I think they deserved a trophy on the Fournier-Genesio period and it's time to fix the anomaly.

They were able to initiate a revival, several seasons after the golden period of the 2000s. A whole generation dreamed with Lacazette, Fekir, Tolisso and Umtiti.

»

Above all a "club image operation"?

Between "love of the club" and "excellent mentality", this trio could therefore carry the heavy task of making supporters forget the worst season of the club in the 21st century, like the fiasco against West Ham, in the quarter-finals of the League Europa (1-1, 0-3).

And to bring the bends of this Lyon team closer after a trying year.

Addicted to OL, Antoine (28) agrees.

Lacazette's arrival would also be an image operation for the club, which is playing the sentimental card of the "great veterans" trained here and leaders of OL's last very fine team in 2014-2015.

After a disastrous season in the club-supporter relationship, with players who give the impression of having quickly given up or who have not existed all season, it is at least as much an attempt to redeem themselves as a policy athletic.

Obviously, it would make me very happy for Lacazette and Tolisso to come back.

But that should not make us forget many questions around the club: what sporting direction?

What future for Bosch?

How to rebuild a competitive team without money and without Europe?

»

While waiting to see more clearly on these central questions, in the same way as the change of shareholding to come, Estelle admits having spent “a day filled with emotions” Thursday.

“Today, I feel this OL identity less than at the time, with this group of friends from Lyon Lacazette-Tolisso-Umtiti who made us proud, explains this 24-year-old supporter.

The success of a club, when it does not have the financial means to align, it goes through guys who want to fight for it, who know that it is more than a coat of arms, that it is the fervor of a city behind.

»

A popular 2013-2014 season, although wrapped up behind ASSE

In view of the almost passionate relationship between Lyon supporters and their “tremendous academy”, one wonders if they might not be tempted sometimes to see OL take a turn with 100% of players lined up trained at the club.

"In any case, I would much rather see an average player from our academy on the pitch than an average rookie," says Richard.

Become the French Athletic Bilbao, it would not bother me.

Moreover, when with Rémi Garde, we finished 5th in L1 in 2014 behind Sainté with a very Lyon team, there was no protest movement.

“Gary puts a damper on this prospect seeming to tickle Jean-Michel Aulas, who hammered home his attachment to “Lyonnais DNA” when extending Maxence Caqueret last month.

OL: "A great void" ... The major questions surrounding Alexandre Lacazette's farewell https://t.co/BtCdzx96b4 pic.twitter.com/z2ljqY4jvI

— 20 Minutes (@20Minutes) May 21, 2017


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“To consider bringing back other former Lyonnais like Maxime Gonalons or Clément Grenier would be a false good idea, because beyond the DNA of the club, we must not forget the question of level.

It would not be my ideal to have a 100% OL team.

Many players who arrived from outside made us dream, like Paqueta currently, and of course "Juni", Lisandro and Sonny Anderson before.

These days, this non-European Lyon probably has a better chance of repatriating its most outstanding figures from Lyon (apart from Benzema) than of attracting artists of the caliber of all these illustrious South Americans.

Sport

Mercato OL: The prodigal son Alexandre Lacazette will return to Lyon after a five-year term at Arsenal

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Ligue 1: OL relies on "gold mines" of images to launch a series on the twenty years of their first title

  • Soccer

  • Olympique Lyonnais (OL)

  • Alexandre Lacazette

  • Corentin Tolisso

  • Ligue 1 Uber Eats

  • Lyons

  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

  • Sport

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