Milan's reported pursuit of Maxence Caqueret might have to be put on ice after the Lyon midfielder signed a new contract with the Ligue 1 club.

France Under-21s international Caqueret was reportedly of interest to the Rossoneri, who are aiming to win Serie A this season for the first time since 2011 - they hold a two-point lead over rivals and defending champions Inter heading into the final two games of the season.

Milan are, however, set to lose midfield powerhouse Franck Kessie on a free transfer ahead of next season, with the Ivory Coast international reportedly set to join Barcelona.

As such, Milan will be hoping to line up a replacement, and 22-year-old Caqueret had apparently piqued their interest, with his contract at Lyon winding down.

But any hope of a free transfer has now been dashed after Caqueret agreed to a new deal, set to keep him at Lyon until 2026.

Having come through Lyon's academy, Caqueret has already played in 88 games for the French side. He has made 29 Ligue 1 appearances and played eight times in the Europa League this season.

Caqueret has attempted a team-high 70 tackles in Ligue 1 this campaign, winning 39 (55.7 per cent), while no team-mate can better his 40 interceptions. Though he has failed to score or assist, he has created 24 chances for others.

While Caqueret's extension is a positive move, it has been a disappointing season for Lyon domestically, and they sit eighth in Ligue 1 with two games remaining.

With European qualification looking unlikely, the future of fellow midfielders Houssem Aouar and Lucas Paqueta may well lay elsewhere, with Bruno Guimaraes having already left for Newcastle United earlier this season.

Mauricio Pochettino has found an ally in Peter Bosz after the Paris Saint-Germain boss was snubbed in nominations for a Ligue 1 coach of the year award.

Lyon boss Bosz said Pochettino's PSG have produced "a very good season" and commended Pochettino for his work in Paris, where he led a star-studded team to title success.

The French players' union, UNFP, revealed nominees this week for the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 prizes.

Pochettino did not make the five-man shortlist for the Ligue 1 coach award, which instead was made up of Christophe Galtier (Nice), Bruno Genesio (Rennes), Antoine Kombouare (Nantes), Jorge Sampaoli (Marseille) and Julien Stephan (Strasbourg).

Galtier won the award last year when he led Lille to the league title, pipping PSG, but this year has been a procession, with Pochettino's team 14 points clear of second-placed Marseille with three games remaining.

Bosz said of Pochettino: "Of course he has the best individual players, but in my opinion to build a team is the hardest thing at this club.

"He's a good coach. He's champion of France with the best players certainly, but you can't be champion all the time. His job is the most difficult in our championship.

"They've been champions since October, that's clear. They've always been ahead. They've produced a very good season."

PSG were knocked out of the Coupe de France by Nice on penalties in January, and saw their Champions League challenge ended in March by Real Madrid, who came back from 2-0 down on aggregate deep into the second leg of their last-16 tie to win 3-2 overall, setting the tone for the Spanish giants' dramatic run to the final.

By winning only two major trophies – this season's Ligue 1 and last term's Coupe de France – Pochettino has faced speculation over whether PSG intend to keep him at the helm.

While Pochettino was not included in the UNFP nominations, and nor were Neymar and Lionel Messi, PSG do have some representation ahead of the May 15 Trophees du Football ceremony.

Kylian Mbappe has been nominated as a contender for player of the year, Gianluigi Donnarumma is on the goalkeeper of the year shortlist, and teenage left-back Nuno Mendes features in the five-man pool for the young player of the year honour.

Barcelona are reportedly open to "big-money" offers for Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong, who has 40 caps for the Netherlands, arrived at Barcelona from Ajax for a €75million fee in 2019, accumulating 137 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The midfielder has been a key pillar in Barcelona's line-up this season, appearing 44 times, but the Catalan giants may be ready to move on as the interest from United intensifies.

TOP STORY – BARCA ARE CONSIDERING OFFERS FOR DE JONG

The Blaugrana are open-minded about potentially parting ways with De Jong, who is being closely linked with his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag for his new venture at United.

He is one of the main players on the Red Devils' wish-list, which Fichajes reports also includes Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen.

The Telegraph adds that Ten Hag has identified eight players "he can trust" at the club, while being on the fence about Marcus Rashford's future.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe is reporting RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku would like to leave the club after this season, with a desire to head to Manchester City, United, Paris Saint-Germain or Milan

Newcastle United have met with the agent of Watford's Ismaila Sarr but will have to match the club's £40million asking price, per FootballTransfers.

Bayer Leverkusen are planning a move for PSG youngster Eric-Junior Dina Ebimbe after failing to secure the deal during the January transfer window, according to RMC Sport.

– Sport is reporting Samuel Umtiti will leave Barcelona in the next transfer window and wants to return to Lyon, who will be competing for his services with Rennes, Montpellier and Nice

– Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is unlikely to sign an extension with the club and could be sold in the next transfer window with his contract set to expire in 2023, according to The Times.

A 10th Ligue 1 title for Paris Saint-Germain has evidently left a bitter-sweet taste.

Their devastating elimination at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League made for a fourth last-16 exit in the past six seasons, following final and semi-final defeats to Bayern Munich and Manchester City respectively.

Amid protests that culminated in fans walking out of the Parc des Princes as PSG claimed the domestic title at the weekend, the remedy reportedly appears to be a new coach.


TOP STORY – CONTE TO REPLACE POCHETTINO AT PSG

Paris Saint-Germain appear set to dismiss Mauricio Pochettino as their head coach and have lined up Antonio Conte as his replacement, Le Parisien is reporting.

Pochettino's exit is reportedly imminent and all that is left for the club is to come to a financial settlement, with another season left on the contracts of Pochettino and his staff.

PSG's preferred choice as Pochettino's replacement is apparently Zinedine Zidane, but he appears more intent to replace Didier Deschamps as France's national team coach if he leaves after the World Cup.

Tottenham boss Conte would be brought in on a two-year deal. 


ROUND-UP

Lucas Paqueta has told Lyon head coach Peter Bosz he will let the club know of his desire to stay or leave at season's end, according to the Chronicle.

- Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus is also yet to commit to his future beyond the end of this season, the Guardian reports.

Real Betis are keen to sign Real Madrid's Isco, who will be leaving at the end of the season, per Marca.

- Mundo Deportivo is reporting Barcelona are considering a bid for Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez.

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette is open to a return to former club Lyon, explaining that he is in talks with "many clubs" ahead of his contract expiring.

However, the 30-year-old also wants to play European football next season, and is eyeing a Champions League move after failing to make a single appearance in the competition for the Gunners. 

Lacazette has made 25 Premier League starts this season as Mikel Arteta's team chase a top-four finish, but looks set to end his five-year spell in north London when his deal expires at the end of June.

The Frenchman has scored just four league goals this campaign, but leads the Gunners squad for assists after laying on seven, and says he has multiple options open to him.

Lacazette said Lyon, whom he left for the Gunners in 2017, could be among them, expressing regret that a talented generation of French players, including himself and Corentin Tolisso, left the club at similar times.

"I am in discussion with many clubs," Lacazette told Canal Plus.

"I have never cut contact with Lyon since I left. I try to return to the club once or twice a year to see the medical staff again because we are really close. So yes, now that Lyon knows that I am free, they have to come with a proposal.

"It would be good, but it's not me who decides. It's true that it's a bit sad and a shame that we all left at the same time, it may have been a mistake from the club."

However, Lacazette also emphasised his desire to play Champions League football, having arrived at Arsenal immediately after their most recent campaign in Europe's top competition, and hinted the absence of European football could be a stumbling block to any Lyon return, as they sit 8th in Ligue 1 with just six games remaining.

"I want to play in Europe, it's been a long time since I played in the Champions League too so I miss it," he added. "Nothing is impossible in life but it's a little more complicated [without European football]."

Lacazette was absent due to a positive COVID-19 test when Arsenal fell to their third consecutive Premier League defeat against Southampton on Saturday, as the Gunners saw their top-four hopes dealt another blow.

Declan Rice has revealed how the antics of Moussa Dembele and a post from Lyon's social media team inspired West Ham to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Prior to Thursday night's rematch between the sides, footage had circulated of Dembele winking to team-mates after appearing to go down easily to earn Aaron Cresswell a soft first-leg red card.

That decision contributed to the tie being finally poised at 1-1 going into the second leg in France; it also perhaps led to some overconfidence from the hosts.

As much could be seen in a reply from Lyon's official English language account on Twitter to the question of which teams looked best placed to progress this week.

It read: "Are you really asking like there's a chance we don't go through?"

Speaking after a 3-0 win saw the Hammers ease through to the last four, Rice confirmed that both perceived slights had ultimately served as motivation.

He told BT Sport: "There were a few incentives for us to go out there and win.

"Obviously, Dembele winking in the first leg at the camera, and then their Twitter admin saying they don't see how they're not going to get through.

"Those things come back to bite you. We stayed quiet, put in a performance, and now West Ham are in the semis. What more could we want?"

Lyon's belief no doubt stemmed from the knowledge they would have a raucous home crowd cheering them on in the return leg.

However, according to Rice, the atmosphere actually pushed the visitors to play their best game.

England international Rice said: "I feel like if you can't get up for these games then you shouldn't be playing football. The roar from the warm-up was spine-tingling, really. It just really gives you that fire in your stomach to go out and perform.

"[It feels] special, very, very special. We knew it was a tough place to come, we knew they had top individual quality.

"But with what we had on the pitch, our attacking players, and what we saw in the first game in terms of them defensively, we knew we could score goals tonight. For all the fans, it's just such a great night."

Manager David Moyes used his post-match interview to reflect on his team's short journey from relegation battlers to European silverware hopefuls.

Moyes said: "We've got a really good group of lads, I'm really lucky. They've been great in the time we've been here. We were trying to avoid relegation and now we're talking about getting to the semi-final of a European tournament, it's fabulous. I think it's been huge what we've done in two years.

"We've not won any trophies yet, we're trying to compete and qualify for European football again if we can.

"But I think to be getting to the latter stages and beating Sevilla and now Lyon - big clubs, big teams who are used to European football...

"You don't win anything tonight, but it was a big night for us. To come away and win 3-0 in Europe - a really, really good result."

West Ham cruised into a first European semi-final in 46 years as they beat Lyon 3-0 in the Europa League.

Goals from Craig Dawson, Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen secured a surprisingly comfortable 4-1 aggregate success in France, setting up a last-four meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Germans were, in fact, the opposition the last time the Hammers reached this stage of continental competition - that tie coming en route to defeat in the final of the 1976 edition of the Cup Winners' Cup.

But there will be hopes of going one better in Europe over four decades on after such a convincing win against elite opposition.

With Lyon supporters creating an intimidating atmosphere pre-match, West Ham wasted little time in showing they would not be cowed, Pablo Fornals bursting in behind to shoot wide with just 15 seconds on the clock.

But Lyon responded well, Karl Toko Ekambi smashing the post after quick feet in the box before Houssem Aouar saw a shot blocked on the line. 

The hosts were also controlling possession, and so when Ekambi kneed a Malo Gusto cross goalward soon after, it felt like the opener was coming.

Unfortunately for Lyon, it was at the other end, with sheer desire from Dawson allowing him to beat all others to a near-post Fornals corner and head home.

Not content to sit on their lead, West Ham then doubled the advantage before the break as a low Rice shot from the edge of the box found the back of the net after taking a nick off Castello Lukeba.

That late blow prompted Peter Bosz to roll the dice, Lucas Paqueta and Mateus Tete coming on at half-time to replace Tanguy Ndombele and Romain Faivre.

But there was to be no quick fix, with Bowen breaking free just three minutes after the restart and producing a cool right-footed finish to all but settle the tie.

Lyon did not stop trying to make things interesting from there on in, their best chance seeing Gusto force Alphonse Areola to push a powerful shot around the post.

But a first failure to trouble the scoresheet at home in the Europa League since the 2013-14 season ultimately ensured that West Ham had little trouble seeing out the win. 

 

What does it mean? West Ham deserve to dream

With the tie delicately poised at 1-1 and Lyon sure to be roared on by an enthusiastic home crowd, this game felt like a major test of an inexperienced West Ham side's European credentials.

But the ease with which they passed it can only provide a major boost to belief among David Moyes' squad that something special is in the offing this season.

Ndombele struggles

After failing to pull up any trees during his time in the Premier League, Ndombele might have hoped to make a point with his performance against English opposition here.

But the midfielder won just 40 per cent of his five duels and surrendered possession on five occasions before being hooked at half-time.

Fornals a creative star

It feels unfair to highlight any one player after West Ham performed so impressively from front to back against top-level opposition.

However, Fornals' influence on both sides of the ball can be fairly summed up by his team-high 66 touches, two assists, and four interceptions.

What's next?

West Ham return to Premier League action on Sunday when they host struggling Burnley. Lyon, meanwhile, face Bordeaux at home on the same day.

Tanguy Ndombele was on target as Lyon held 10-man West Ham United to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Ndombele – on loan from Tottenham – opened his account for the Ligue 1 side; equalising midway through the second half at the London Stadium on Thursday.

Jarrod Bowen had broken the deadlock early in the second half as David Moyes' side capitalised on sloppy defending by the visitors.

The Hammers played the entire second period with 10 men after Aaron Cresswell was controversially shown a straight red card just before the break.

Unbeaten in six European matches against English opposition, including their elimination of Manchester City in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, Lyon had the first sight on goal after 10 minutes.

The in-form Moussa Dembele lost Declan Rice at the near post, but was unable to direct Lucas Paqueta's inviting cross towards the target.

Said Benrahma latched onto Craig Dawson's long ball over the top of the defence at the other end before he was denied by Antony Lopes from a tight angle.

The Hammers suffered a big blow when they were reduced to 10 men just before half-time; Cresswell shown a straight red card after dragging back Dembele when he was deemed to be the last defender.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Pablo Fornals won possession high up the field and after a couple of fortunate ricochets, Bowen's goal=bound effort deflected up and over Lopes via Jerome Boateng.

Lyon responded 14 minutes later as Ndombele tucked away after the Hammers failed to deal with Tete’s initial cross – leaving the tie finely poised heading into the second leg at the Groupama Stadium next week.

Barcelona can begin to plot their route to the Europa League final after learning which teams stand in the way of them reaching the Seville showpiece.

Xavi's side must tackle Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals, before the winner of that tie goes on to tackle West Ham or Lyon in the semi-finals.

This competition represents the last realistic chance for Barcelona to finish the season with silverware, given they are out of the Copa del Rey and trail Real Madrid by 15 points in LaLiga.

Head coach Xavi was appointed in November, succeeding Ronald Koeman, and his side edged past Galatasaray at the last-16 stage as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pedri earned a 2-1 second-leg win in Istanbul following a goalless first leg.

Eintracht booked their last-eight place by getting the better of another Spanish side, Real Betis, on Thursday. It took an own goal in the 120th minute from Guido Rodriguez to secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate success for Eintracht, who won the UEFA Cup in 1980 but cannot match Barcelona's European heritage.

Barcelona have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, but they have never lifted the trophy in the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

The clash of West Ham and Lyon promises to be a gripping tie between English and French rivals, while RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga will take on Serie A's Atalanta.

Scottish giants Rangers, who have knocked out Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in the previous two rounds, will face Portuguese side Braga.

The quarter-final ties will be played over two legs, on April 7 and 14, with the semi-finals on April 28 and May 5. The Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stages the final on May 18.

Europa League quarter-final draw

RB Leipzig v Atalanta

Eintracht Frankfurt v Barcelona

West Ham v Lyon

Braga v Rangers

Semi-final draw

RB Leipzig/Atalanta v Braga/Rangers

West Ham/Lyon v Eintracht Frankfurt/Barcelona

Barcelona will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xavi's side were 4-2 winners on aggregate over Napoli in the round of 32 after dropping into the competition from the Champions League.

They will now meet the Turkish Super Lig giants, with the first leg at Camp Nou to be played on March 10.

Sevilla, winners of a record six trophies, will face David Moyes' West Ham, while rivals Real Betis will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers, who shocked Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, take on Red Star and RB Leipzig will play Spartak Moscow. Spartak's home leg must be played at a neutral venue due to the military invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The first legs will be played on March 10, with the exception of Porto versus Lyon and Betis' game with Frankfurt, which will be held a day earlier. The second legs are a week later.

Europa League last 16:

Rangers v Red Star
Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt

Romelu Lukaku has not had the desired impact since his move from Inter to Chelsea in August.

The Belgium international has scored 10 goals in all competitions but appears unsettled.

As a result, Lukaku has been linked with a move away from the European champions.

TOP STORY - LUKAKU KEEN FOR INTER RETURN

Chelsea forward Lukaku is open to the idea of taking a pay cut to facilitate a proposed move back to Inter , according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Lukaku dropped a bombshell in December, revealing his regret at leaving Inter for Chelsea and has come under fire recently after managing only seven touches in a Premier League game.

The report claims that the Belgian forward has contacted the Italian champions to persuade them to bid for him, although they may not be able to afford a deal.

ROUND-UP

- Eden Hazard is interested in a return to Chelsea after an unhappy time with Real Madrid, claims Fichajes. The Belgian made a €100 million (£84m) move to Madrid in 2019 but has underwhelmed, with the Blues open to a short-term deal.

- SPORT claims that Arsenal will make a fresh approach to sign Real Sociedad's Swedish forward Alexander Isak . The striker has an €80m (£67m) release clause in his contract and has been linked with Barcelona .

- Manchester United have tabled an offer for Borussia Dortmund's Manuel Akanji ,   reports BILD. The Red Devils will offer the defender, who is contracted until 2023, a four-year deal worth €15m (£13m) per season.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Madrid are angling to sign Fabian Ruiz after contract extension talks with Napoli stalled. The 25-year-old is understood to want to return to Spain.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that Barcelona will back head coach Xavi in the off-season as they push on with plans to lure Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta .

- Newcastle United are considering an off-season move for Lyon defender Jason Denayer , claims The Mirror. Denayer's contract expires in June.

The pursuit of 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is well known.

Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all been linked with Haaland.

The race is set to heat up, with Haaland reportedly holding a €75 million (£68m) release clause in his Dortmund contract which triggers at the end of the current season.

TOP STORY – MAN CITY LEAD THE WAY IN HAALAND RACE

Football Insider reports that Man City are in the box seat to sign Haaland in a major development with his father Alf-Inge Haaland's connection with the club.

Alf-Inge played with City from 2000 to 2003 and is telling Erling to join the club ahead of other suitors.

City's Abu Dhabi owners are set to launch a concerted pursuit for the Norwegian and will be able to meet his release clause.

Madrid 's bid to sign Haaland may be aided by Adidas, who are associated with the club and looking to bring him on board, after his deal with Nike expired at the end of January.


ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports that Lyon are preparing a significant offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Lacazette joined the Gunners from Lyon in 2017.

- El Nacional claims that Madrid are open to selling Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who is being targeted by PSG. Casemiro is a regular but his sale may open up funds for moves for Kylian Mbappe and Haaland.

- Franck Kessie will depart Milan when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports Calciomercato, with Barcelona entering the race to sign the midfielder, and Tottenham also interested.

- Sport claims that Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta already has an agreement in principle to join Barcelona on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Edinson Cavani will exit Manchester United at the end of his contract in June, with Spain his preferred destination rather than returning to South America according to Fabrizio Romano.

Antonio Conte has urged Tottenham to be more careful in the transfer market after suggesting the club was guilty of making "mistakes in the past".

Spurs allowed Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil all leave the club on loan in January, while Dele Alli joined Everton on a permanent deal.

Alli undoubtedly flourished for a time at Spurs, but Lo Celso and Ndombele have so far proven to be expensive flops since joining in 2019.

Lo Celso, signed for an initial £27.8million (€32m) from Real Betis, was shipped off to Villarreal with a purchase option, while Ndombele – a club-record signing at £55m (€63m) – was sent back to Lyon, who retain the right to buy him for a reported €65m (£54m).

Spurs do at least appear to retain hope for Spain international winger Bryan, 20, whose temporary switch to Valencia does not include any purchase clauses or obligations.

However, Conte's general appraisal of the situation does not reflect especially well on any of them, nor those in charge of transfers at Spurs.

"Usually you buy players to reinforce your team," Conte told reporters on Friday. "But if you send on loan after two or three years, it is strange.

"It means that maybe in the past you have to see what you did and maybe to understand that there were some mistakes in the past.

"We have to pay more attention in the future when we go into the market. It becomes a fundamental importance if we want to enforce the team, otherwise you drop the quality of your team."

Tottenham were active with incomings as well, with Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski joining from Juventus. Spurs sporting director Fabio Paratici previously signed both players during his spell in charge of the Bianconeri.

While neither player ultimately fitted the bill in Turin, Conte appeared excited by their respective arrivals in north London.

"We are talking about two players who are the right prospects for the club's philosophy, young players, talented players to develop and improve to then become important players in the future," he said.

"They have the right experience, Bentancur, for sure, has played many games for Juventus, Kulusevski as well. To be able to sign these two players was good, because they complete our squad.

"We needed to add another player in the midfield. We played with only three midfielders – [Pierre-Emil] Hojbjerg, Winksy [Harry Winks], [Oliver] Skipp.

"We needed to add another player, and we added a good player. Not only to add one player, but a good player.

"Rodrigo has a lot of space for improvement, he played for his national team, 200 games [for Juve and Boca Juniors] despite his age; he's only 24 years old. He's won in Italy. Yes, a good signing for us."

Winger Kulusevski had previously been tipped for a big future at Juve when initially signed from Atalanta amid a breakthrough loan spell with Parma in 2019-20, the year he was named Serie A's Young Player of the Season.

Conte is confident Kulusevski's versatility will be an asset, and he is even confident the wide attacker could operate effectively as a wing-back.

"Dejan has the characteristic to play, in my mind, behind the striker, one of the two number 10s we have behind our striker. At the same time, he has the capacity to play as a wing-back, on the right. He also likes to do this because physically, he's very strong, he has good quality," Conte said.

Conte was said to want to use Adama Traore, another winger, as a wing-back before he chose Barcelona over Tottenham.

Tanguy Ndombele has not tried to shift the blame for his underwhelming Tottenham performances as he accepts he is risking his career by returning to Lyon on loan.

Ndombele was a £55.5million (€62m) signing for Spurs in 2019 but re-joined former club Lyon on Monday in a temporary move that could become permanent for €65m.

The midfielder failed to show in England why Tottenham had invested so heavily in his services.

After creating 47 chances and laying on seven assists in his final season in Ligue 1, Ndombele played only 30 key passes and contributed five assists in two and a half years in the Premier League.

There were mitigating factors, with Ndombele signed by Mauricio Pochettino, who soon left to be replaced by Jose Mourinho. Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte followed.

But the 25-year-old said on Wednesday: "It's not the fault of coaches if I had a little trouble at Tottenham.

"It's the right time for me [to return to Lyon]. For my adaptation, coming back here is the best. I hesitated: I went out through the front door, and coming back I'm taking a risk.

"If I had thought about [it hurting my pride], I wouldn't have come back. I saw the project in front of me, I saw that it was interesting for me, and for the club, too.

"But I don't think that's the easiest option. If there wasn't a good team, I don't think I would have taken that risk."

 

Lyon hope Ndombele is not the only player to return from north London this year, with out-of-contract Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette – who scored exactly 100 Ligue 1 goals for the club, at a rate of one every 150 minutes – a target.

He was one of several former Lyon men referenced as potential signings by Jean-Michel Aulas when presenting Ndombele to the media.

"In our context, [Lacazette] is more affordable than Benzema," Aulas said. "We have to try to see if we can do it as a free player, but we won't be alone."

Aulas also discussed outgoing transfers, with Ndombele set to replace star man Bruno Guimaraes, who departed for Newcastle United.

"Newcastle's first request for Bruno, we refused it," Aulas said. "It seemed logical to us.

"Events made us think differently then. We're happy with the deal, coming out of a difficult pandemic period for all clubs. We turned a weakness into an opportunity."

Tanguy Ndombele has returned to former club Lyon on loan until the end of the season after another frustrating season at Tottenham. 

The midfielder signed for Spurs from Lyon for a reported £63million (€75.8m) in 2019 but has rarely been able to show the quality he produced in France prior to the move.

Ndombele – who was also linked with Paris Saint-Germain – was recently booed off the pitch by his own fans after a disappointing performance against third-tier Morecambe in the FA Cup third round.

The 25-year-old impressed Spurs enough to break their transfer record after a solid 2018-19 season in Ligue 1, when he completed 63 out of his 92 attempted dribbles (68 per cent), more than anyone in Europe's top five leagues who had attempted as many.

Only five midfielders in Ligue 1 made more assists than Ndombele's seven that year, while he also had the 12th best passing accuracy (89.09 per cent) of midfielders who had played more than five games.

However, Ndombele's career at Spurs has never got going, though he did register nine goals and nine assists in his 86 appearances in all competitions for the club.

Lyon have confirmed they will pay a loan fee to Spurs of €1.42m (£1.18m), while there is also an option to buy Ndombele at the end of the loan deal.

The French outfit also announced the signing of attacking midfielder Romain Faivre from Brest earlier on Monday on a four-and-a-half year deal for a fee of around €15m.

Lyon sold midfielder Bruno Guimaraes to Newcastle on Sunday for a fee worth £35m (€42.1m), with bonuses potentially boosting the amount to £41.7m (€50.1m).

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