Lyon pay Malo Gusto tribute as defender makes Chelsea return

Lyon pay Malo Gusto tribute as defender makes Chelsea return

Lyon have paid tribute to Malo Gusto as the defender returns to Chelsea to try and stake a first-team claim under incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The French right-back was signed by Chelsea from Lyon in a £26.3million deal back in January, with a key stipulation of the transfer being that he would return to the French club on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 season.

Unfortunately Gusto’s progress has since been limited by a hamstring injury suffered shortly after his move to Stamford Bridge was confirmed, with the 20-year-old making just six appearances during the final months of the Ligue 1 campaign as Lyon laboured to a seventh-place finish under Laurent Blanc.

He also spent time at Chelsea’s Cobham training base during his period of rehabiliation, something which should stand him in good stead as he now heads back to the club in order to try and impress new boss Pochettino when pre-season training starts next month.

Gusto made a total of 61 senior appearances for Lyon across all competitions after rising through the academy ranks and the club marked his permanent departure with a tribute video displayed via their offical channels on social media.

Alongside the highlights package, the club said: “Thank you @gusto_malo! Best of luck to our Gone, at the club since the age of 14 and developed at the #OLAcademy!”

Chelsea and Pochettino will hope that Gusto is able to provide suitable support and competition for first-choice right-back Reece James next term, with the latter having been bothered by numerous injuries this season and long-serving captain Cesar Azpilicueta potentially set to depart.

“My rehabilitation was well managed,” Gusto said of his stint back at Chelsea earlier this year. “There have been regular exchanges between the two clubs for my injury. I was able to recover well, that was the most important thing. I had regular contact with the staff and they came to see me in London. They have always been behind me.

“I was also well supported by my family. I wanted to come to answer your questions because a lot has been said and a lot was wrong. I’m a kid at the club, I gave everything for this shirt and some thought I was delaying my return to stay at Chelsea. It moved me. People interpret as they want. I always wanted to play and give it my all. It wasn’t the most comfortable situation. I thought my absence would be shorter.”