The summer trading window, which closed on Monday 31 August, was an opportunity for Olympique Lyonnais to implement the new three-pronged coaching and recruiting strategy initiated last season with the arrival of Claude Puel in the position of club manager: reduce the number of professional players, optimise the training of the club's young players for the benefit of the professional squad and with an eye towards trading, and invest in the acquisition of young players.
The number of experienced professional players has been reduced from 23 to 20, including 18 internationals (14 A, 1 A', 2 "Espoir" and 1 U19). This reduced the payroll and fostered the integration of promising young players into the club.
At the same time, a group called "Pro2" was created, with 19 of the most promising players under 20 years old at both national and international levels. Fifteen of them are internationals (1"Espoir", 1 U20, 6 U19, 5 U18 and 2 U17). This group is managed by Bruno Genesio and Sonny Anderson and has its own technical and medical staff. Its objective is to enable young players to continue their training while sharpening their skills through regular contact with seasoned professionals.
The first manifestation of the new strategy came at the start of the new season, with Ishak Belfodil and Maxime Gonalons playing in the Champions League qualifier, while Nicolas Seguin and Yannis Tafer were on the match sheet.
In the same spirit of showing confidence in the most talented young players, the club continued the strategy implemented last season (Hugo Lloris and Miralem Pjanic) by acquiring new young players such as Aly Cissokho (21) and Bafetimbi Gomis (24).
To develop this approach and implement the decisions Claude Puel has taken together with Bernard Lacombe as part of the Strategy Committee, the Board of Directors of OL Groupe decided to invest ¤70 million this summer to acquire four top players (Michel Bastos, Aly Cissokho, Bafetimbi Gomis and Lisandro Lopez), who have all signed long-term contracts of four or five years.
As it does every year, the club also transferred certain players out, generating receipts of ¤49 million, which could go as high as ¤70 million depending on whether the purchase options for John Mensah and Frédéric Piquionne are exercised and on whether various bonuses are earned.
The club is very pleased to have qualified, owing in part to this strategy, for the tenth consecutive time to compete in the Champions League. Only three other European clubs (Arsenal, Manchester United and Real Madrid) have matched this performance. In this way, Claude Puel, his players and staff can start the regular season under the best possible conditions.
Separately, the club reiterates that it has signed two important sponsorship contracts, one for 10 years with sporting equipment provider Adidas and the other for four years with one of the French and European leaders of online gaming, BetClic. This enables the club to look ahead to the future with confidence.
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