• Ligue 1

Arsenal warned off Gourcuff

ESPN staff
July 22, 2013
Yoann Gourcuff has emerged as a reported target for Arsenal © Getty Images

Lyon's presidential advisor Bernard Lacombe has told the club's TV channel reported Arsenal target Yoann Gourcuff will not leave the seven-time Ligue 1 champions this summer.

Gourcuff, 27, has proven underwhelming since his €22 million move from Bordeaux in summer 2010, and though he featured regularly in the second half of last season after an injury-blighted opening portion of the campaign, his status as the club's highest wage earner meant he could leave the Stade de Gerland as Lyon seek to balance their books.

However, though Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has spoken about the possibility the France international could find a new employer this summer, his closest confidante told OL TV the ex-AC Milan midfielder would still be part of Remi Garde's squad for 2013-14.

He said: "Yoann Gourcuff won't leave during this transfer window. The president told me that there were opportunities, but all three parties need to be in agreement. The president has had, it's true, a lot of approaches, and that has enabled him to have a different point of view other than OL's and he's talked about it with Yoann. But I don't think he'll leave."

Gourcuff has been strongly linked to Atletico Madrid as well as Valencia and Monaco while Arsenal are also reportedly keeping an eye on his situation. Only last week, however, did the Rennes youth academy product tell Lyon's official website he planned on helping the club's own young talents flourish in the first team.

He said: "When I was the same age as these players, it wasn't exactly the same situation. There were more experienced players around me. But it's good," the former AC Milan player stated, adding his own passion for the game remains intact after a difficult, injury-peppered last campaign.

"These youngsters are self-disciplined, focused. They need to continue relying on the whole squad. I don't have a particular role with regard to them. I simply wish to transmit them my desire to enjoy yourself and that they feel that they can count on me on the pitch. I'm here, available, ready to help them.

"I'm have a hunger to play, I want to play with the ball as much as possible to get my feeling back, and then to re-find that technical understanding with the others without neglecting the physical aspect of things. It's important at this time. You have to acquire a good technical and physical basis without wearing yourself out."

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