Monday, August 23, 2010

France golden boy Gourcuff to Olympique Lyonnais - good move on and off pitch

France and Bordeaux playmaker Yohann Gourcuff will move across France to join former Ligue 1 champion Lyon for just under $30m in transfer fees. Good move? Yes both on and off the pitch. Was the fee to much? Probably, but I am sure Lyon had to over pay to pry away such a player from a direct rival. However the move will prove to be solid business for Lyon moving forward. Why:
  • On the field - For this season it will provide Puel with a wide variety of options at midfield. With Pjanic and Gourcuff, he has two true play-makers he can leverage. While the Bosnian has bags of talent, he is only 20 and, although Gourcuff is still only 24, has valuable experience and will bring that to the table. Speaking of Pjanic, the noise is that he is itching to make a move to an English club. He was already mildly linked to moving to the EPL prior to his move to Lyon. After a good season last year, including a strong Champions League showing (including the winning goal versus Real Madrid), I doubt he will be around for much more than this season and next at most. Having a Gourcuff ensures you have your play-maker for the long term. Not a bad midfield of Gourcuff, Grenier and Gonalons to build around...hmm the "G" midfield...sorry could not resist (I also assume Toulalan will slot back in central defense). In addition, Lyon has their set piece taker, something they have not had consistently since Juninho left.
  • Off the field - Puel and the powers that be at Lyon are not bad business else can you explain that a team that over a decade ago was a nice club, but in the shadows of the likes of OM, Bordeaux and PSG. Today they are most valuable side in Ligue 1 and just outside the top 10 most valuable teams of all football. Clearly the addition of the French golden boy will help in the off the field marketing and business efforts of the club. Winning is the most important business and marketing programs for a football team...but having a potential golden boy to lead your marketing efforts is not too bad either. In addition, Puel could be gambling that he can build off field success on having the core of the French national team playing for Lyon - Lloris, Gourcuff, Briand, Toulalan - will give his side great business exposure.
Of course the move also takes away one of the major pieces of a direct rival, with the rumors of Alou Diarra leaving Bordeaux to head to Marseilles, coupled with no clear replacement for Chamakh and Les Girondins' mountain back to the top of Ligue 1 gets steeper every day....oh and the loss of your manager to the national team does not really help either! The move makes sense for Lyon. It announces to Ligue 1 that Lyon remains the big fish in the pond, and with Champions League aspirations adding some talent and depth is vital to try and achieve the lofty goals for OL.

Good move for Lyon and Gourcuff, things just got more complicated for Bordeaux. Question is....who will get #8 for Lyon??? It currently sits on the shoulders of Pjanic.


Jean-Fran├žois said...

I think Lyon have a solid chance to win the Champions' League. This is good for French football as a hole. Do you really think he is worth 22Mil though?

GFC said...

I actually think that price was reasonable. Much of that fee relates to his potential and the what he will bring to the Lyon side.

I am sure Puel sees Gourcuff as the poster child for Les Bleus and France football moving forward. So the money was well worth it, on and off the field.

Not sure about Champions League, but they can definitely build from last season's success. For Lyon to go further I think that Gonalons will have to step up as well as a healthy Cris. Inter showed last season that you need to have a strong defense to ensure a strong run. We will see.

Anonymous said...

great point about the marketing value of gourcuff. Maybe he will sell a lot of Lyon jerseys (if only the jerseys weren't so hideous!). Lyon and OM are loading up on the attacking talent. I really believe both teams will do well in the CL this year (or at least put on a good show of attacking football).

philip said...

I think this is a very good move for Lyon. I hope he will get his touch back very soon.

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