Memphis could be the one to move on as the president hopes to convince Fekir to snub another summer move and believes Aouar will remain in France
Lyon will have to sell one of their star trio Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Houssem Aouar this summer, president Jean-Michel Aulas says.
Fekir, Memphis and Aouar have all played a key role this term, scoring a combined 15 goals in Ligue 1 as Lyon challenge for the runner-up spot , while they visit Barcelona on Wednesday looking to seal a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The French side almost lost Fekir to Liverpool last summer, only for a deal to break down before the World Cup, while Memphis has made no secret of his desire to leave for a bigger club.
Homegrown product Aouar seems least likely to go in the next transfer window, but president Aulas would not rule it out as the homegrown star has already caught the attention of some of Europe’s bigger teams.
“We will only let one player go from those solicited,” he told Telefoot. “I do not know which one because there are many who have been solicited. It will take a big, big effort to try to convince Nabil, our world champion from the academy, to stay when he was almost sure he could go.
“We made a big effort to convince Nabil who is our world champion, when he was announced on the start. I’ll be honest, it’s easier for us to let go of Depay for example. Players like Houssem are programmed to leave from a big team of Lyon. After 32 years of experience, I can say that these kind of players are the future of this club.
“It’s easier, of course [to let Memphis go than Aouar]. Houssem is scheduled to be part of the European Championship team which will be, for sure, playing in Lyon in the coming years. But the conditions of the offers and the desire of the players must always be taken into account. After 32 years of experience, I always know that it’s not my own desires that are chosen when it comes to transfers.”
Lyon have also been reported to be looking for a new coach, with Bruno Genesio tipped to move on at the end of the season. But Aulas hopes to hold on to the coach, who joined in 2015.
“Bruno Genesio’s priority is to stay, he is an asset,” he said. “No, [my decision] has not been made, otherwise I would have told him, which would have avoided this indecision.
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“I will have an interview with Bruno before the game against Barcelona to tell him the substance of my thought so that we have all the assets to go to Camp Nou and that there is not this useless pressure.
“And in any case Bruno is a good coach.”
Lyon held Barcelona to a goalless draw in the first leg of their last-16 clash and the president is confident they can pick up a good result at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
“The ideal scenario against Barca is to score a goal,” he said. “Nabil can score. I am convinced that Barca can be disturbed by attacking. A 1-1 draw would be a magnificent result.”