Aouar and Dembele could leave Lyon but we hope Depay stays - Juninho

Lyon sporting director Juninho has admitted that the club could lose both Houssem Aouar and Moussa Dembele this summer, but he hopes that Memphis Depay can be persuaded to sign a new contract.

Missing out on the Champions League in the 2021-22 season after a disappointing seventh-placed finish in the controversially truncated Ligue 1 campaign has been a blow to OL and is set to shape their actions in the summer.

Aouar and Dembele have been strongly touted with moves away from the Rhone side, with Manchester City and Juventus strongly linked with the former, while Manchester United are one of the sides associated with the latter.

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Although not definitive on the future of either, Juninho suggested they could be on their way.

“Moussa and Houssem are among the best players in the squad but their cases are different,” he said at the unveiling of striker Tino Kadewere.

“Houssem came through the academy here and he’s been here a long time. He brings a technical touch in the midfield, but we know that most young players trained at the club with the talent of Houssem will leave at one time or another.

“It’s president Jean-Michel Aulas who will decide. If we receive propositions, we’ll analyse them but he’s an important player.

“Moussa’s had a good season and still has a margin to progress. He’s a pure centre forward who brings us strength and presence in the box. He scores goals.

“If we lose a player of that level, we’ll look for replacements of the same standard.”

Memphis Depay Toulouse Lyon Ligue 1 02112019
Memphis Depay Toulouse Lyon Ligue 1 02112019

Meanwhile, Depay, who has been out since December with serious knee injury, is out of contract next summer, at which time he could potentially leave for nothing. Eager to avoid that, but aware of the player’s talents, Lyon have opened talks on an extension.

“When you lose a big star due to injury a year and a half from the end of his contract, it’s a challenge,” Juninho admitted. “Memphis is really important to us. We hope he’ll stay and we’ve started talks on an extension. 

“He’s enjoyed being here and has taken the captain’s armband. He’s become a true leader. I hope we find a solution.”

Juninho is hopeful that the Netherlands international will be able to play a role in Lyon’s Champions League last-16 second-leg meeting with Juventus, which is yet to be formally rescheduled but is likely to take place in early August.

“We know that after six months out, players need time to regain their form, but in any given match he can help us with his talent and his desire,” the director added. “I think he’ll be ready to play Juve, even if it’s up to Rudi Garcia to decide. 

“Maybe if he helps up win matches like that and he feels there’s a strong project behind him, he might decide to stay.”

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