Aulas hopes title win could convince Barca-linked Depay to stay at Lyon

By Sports Desk March 17, 2021

Memphis Depay may be convinced to stay at Lyon especially if they can dethrone Paris Saint-Germain as Ligue 1 champions, president Jean-Michel Aulas believes.

The Dutch forward was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona prior to the 2020-21 season, speculation that mounted as Los Cules are coached by his ex-Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman.

With Depay out of contract at the end of June, rumours continue to circle that Barca may reignite their interest in the former Manchester United man.

Depay has been influential for Lyon this season, contributing 15 goals and nine assists from 30 appearances in all competitions. 

He has a big-chance conversion rate of 61.11 per cent, while he has created 77 chances for team-mates – 16 of which are Opta-defined big chances.

Lyon sit third in Ligue 1, level on 60 points with PSG and three adrift of leaders Lille. Aulas hopes that domestic success may convince Depay to reject overtures from elsewhere.

"For Memphis, I dream that he accepts our proposal, which is still relevant," he told AFP.

"He brings so much, he has been directly involved in 23 league goals this season. The offer will stay there and, if we are champions, why not?"

Related items

  • Suarez 'cannot understand' congested schedule Suarez 'cannot understand' congested schedule

    Uruguay striker Luis Suarez "cannot understand" why players are being forced to play so many fixtures in such a congested period.

    South American nations are playing two World Cup qualifiers over the coming days, after FIFA inserted an extra international break into the calendar.

    European countries are not in action, but CONMEBOL are attempting to catch up on fixtures missed due to the coronavirus pandemic and last year's Copa America.

    Uruguay are one of five teams separated by just two points in the qualification standings, but have lost their past four games by an aggregate of 11-1.

    They travel to Paraguay on Thursday, before hosting Venezuela on February 1. However, that second game comes just two days before a crucial Copa del Rey tie for Real Madrid, and Federico Valverde is set to travel back to Spain for that match.

    Three other players, Getafe trio Mathias Olivera, Damian Suarez and Mauro Arambarri, could well have to be involved in a LaLiga match on February 4, while Suarez's Atletico Madrid are in action against his former club Barcelona on February 6.

    It is a situation that leaves Suarez frustrated.

    "I have to speak about the physical part of being a human being as well as a sportsman," he told reporters.

    "We cannot understand how it is that we will compete in a World Cup qualifier next Tuesday and that Pajarito [Valverde] in this case, will have to compete in a Copa del Rey match.

    "That my colleagues from Getafe, Mauro, Damian and Mati, will have to play that Friday in a LaLiga match. The schedule is quite tight, but we have to adapt to it.

    "We are professionals and will do our job on the pitch because that is demanded from us, but sometimes the players are not in other people's thoughts.

    "It happened before when we played three qualifiers in 10 days, with long trips of more than 12-15 hours, and obviously fatigue then has an influence."

    Suarez, however, insists the squad's full focus is on arresting their dismal form and pushing on to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this year.

    He said: "There are players who go through different stages of both winning and losing streaks. But when you come into the national team, the games that you have been playing suddenly do not matter.

    "What matters is the hunger to compete, the wish to live and feel what I feel with this shirt on and to keep demonstrating that I am prevailing and that I want to keep competing and have the burning ambition to make it to the World Cup.

    "I've been lucky enough to have played in three World Cups already and now, at 35 years old, I want to continue with that same ambition and I wish to keep playing World Cups and to have the chance to play at my fourth World Cup. Because of that, I am here."

  • Ivory Coast 0-0 Egypt (aet, 4-5 pens): Bailly miss lets Salah seal progress Ivory Coast 0-0 Egypt (aet, 4-5 pens): Bailly miss lets Salah seal progress

    Eric Bailly missed from the spot as Egypt progressed to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations by knocking out Ivory Coast on penalties.

    The most frequently contested match in the tournament's history – this was the 11th time these sides have met – was decided when Mohamed Salah swept home to secure a 5-4 win in the shoot-out after 120 goalless minutes in Douala.

    In a tight first 90 minutes of few chances, arguably the best fell to Amr El Soleya, who blasted over after being teed up in space by Salah.

    Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy tipped over a Sebastien Haller header before keeping out a Wilfried Zaha effort, but he was replaced with two minutes of normal time left due to injury.

    A bright start from Egypt to extra time saw El Soleya presented with another chance, the Al Ahly midfielder unable to keep his awkward header down from six yards out.

    A speculative Ibrahim Sangare strike was well saved by Mohamed Abou Gabal, and Simon Deli got in front of the replacement goalkeeper from the resulting corner only to head over.

    Salah's cut-back set up Trezeguet with practically the final kick of extra time, but the Aston Villa man shot straight at Badra Ali Sangare from six yards.

    The opening four penalties of the shoot-out were scored before 'Gabaski' clawed Bailly's effort onto the crossbar, the Manchester United defender's run-up not fooling the keeper.

    Zaha swept home to put the pressure on Salah, who found the bottom-right corner to set up a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

  • Infantino says Africa comments 'were taken out of context' Infantino says Africa comments 'were taken out of context'

    FIFA president Gianni Infantino said  his comments suggesting biennial World Cups could convince African people not to risk "death" by crossing the Mediterranean Sea were "taken out of context".

    Infantino was addressing the European Council on Wednesday, speaking about a range of topics including football agents, Qatar 2022 and FIFA's proposals for World Cup finals every two years.

    He concluded his speech by talking about the latter, outlining how FIFA's reasoning behind the controversial idea – which is being pushed by Arsene Wenger – comes down to a desire to let more people around the world enjoy the best players for "the future of football".

    Infantino said: "We see that football is going to a direction where the few have everything and the vast majority have nothing. I understand.

    "In Europe, the World Cup happens twice per week because the best players are playing in Europe. In Europe there's no need for additional events, but if we think about the rest of the world, and even in Europe, the vast majority of Europe that doesn't see the best players, that doesn't participate in the top competitions."

    But, as he went on to explain ethical dilemmas currently troubling the sport, Infantino's address took a curious turn, suggesting the proposed World Cup changes – and greater inclusion in global football – could make refugees think twice about fleeing Africa for Europe.

    He added: "We have to think about what football brings, which goes beyond the sport, because football is about what I was saying at the beginning – it's about opportunities, about hope, about national teams, the country, heart, the joy and emotion. You cannot say to the rest of the world, 'give us your money and if you happen to have a good player, give us the player as well, but you just watch on TV'. We need to include them. We need to find ways to include the entire world, to give hope to Africans so they don't have to cross the Mediterranean in order to, maybe, find a better life but more probably death in the sea.

    "We need to give opportunities and we need to give dignity, not by giving charity but by allowing the rest of the world to participate. Maybe a World Cup every two years isn't the answer, [but] we discuss it, debate it."

    Several hours later, the Swiss – via a statement released on FIFA's Twitter account – took the opportunity to clarify his comments.

    The statement read: "Given that certain remarks made by me before the Council of Europe earlier today appear to have been misinterpreted and taken out of context, I wish to clarify that, in my speech, my more general message was that everyone in a decision-making position has a responsibility to help improve the situation of people around the world.

    "If there are more opportunities available, including in Africa, but certainly not limited to that continent, this should allow people to take these opportunities in their own countries.

    "This was a general comment, which was not directly related to the possibility of playing a FIFA World Cup every two years."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.