Mercato: maintenance or trade, what is the project?

John Textor in discussions with Laurent Prud'homme during the Pontarlier - Olympics

John Textor in discussions with Laurent Prud’homme during Pontarlier – Olympics (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Stuck in the depths of Ligue 1, OL needs to maintain its position. However, the winter recruits did not give the impression of going in this direction, with youth more than experience.

Brought back to sanity or reality, it’s your choice. At the start of 2024, the Olympics have returned to the daily routine that dictates their final months, namely defeats that end the weeks of training. With two defeats in a row in Ligue 1, the Lyon side saw the sky darken as quickly as it had cleared in December. When the hope of the first part of the table had raised its head at the time of the Christmas holidays, the start of the year reminded all the Lyonnais of the sad reality of this season: the Olympics are doomed to play their role until ‘at the end of the season and will have to to give themselves the means to achieve this.

Despite the improvement in December, the Lyon management counted on the transfer window to help Pierre Clever and his troops with this aim. Three days before the end of the transfer window, we cannot say that OL was not active in the month of January. Five recruits, spent almost 40 million euros and one of the biggest money clubs of the winter. But have the desired goals really been achieved?

In the interview delivered to The team this tuesday john Textor admits half-heartedly that the initial strategy was not necessarily followed to the letter. “HAVE three days to go, it is true that it is difficult to be satisfied because we still have some outstanding priorities… We want more experienced players who bring the same experience and the same leadership as Matic. We are optimistic.”

With barely 72 hours left, the recruiting unit must perform miracles. Because it is not easy to find an experienced player who wants to come to the Olympics. We saw it with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg which corresponded to Lyon’s expectations. “We are no longer attractive on the sporting side. We are only attractive on the financial side, but it is difficult to convince a player with this situation.”, lamented Nicolas Puydebois, Monday in “Tant qu’il y sera des Gones”. While the supporters expected these gains of experience soon enough to be able to ride on the momentum at the end of the year, they are still waiting and the Olympics have crashed again.

By investing almost €40 million over the past month, the Lyon club have bolstered Pierre’s squad Clever quantitatively, but he did it qualitatively. The qualities of the four recruits before Nemanja Matt should not be questioned, but can these reinforcements immediately provide a team that lacks points? “I don’t know what the recruiting guideline is. What is the value we bring to this workforce, our consultant doubts. Apart from Matic and his experience, I have the impression that we spent money to spend money. Maybe not for Perri, who is a Brazilian international. You’re not coming to add anything extra to your squad, although the winter transfer window is usually made for that. Take a player who is ready immediately and who will make a difference to your team.”

In its struggle to maintain its position, the Olympics have chosen a medium-term vision. This was not the main objective, as admitted by John Textor, who, since his arrival at the head of the club, has never hidden that trade would be the basis of Lyon’s policy. “Transfer windows always bring surprises and sometimes you have to recruit a good player when the opportunity presents itself.” This is what happened to Malick Fofana and Gift Orban, recruited between them for 30 million euros (excluding bonus). Two young players whose development should be upward during their contract, but can their impact be immediate?

The provision of Fofana against Rennes showed that he still needs to settle into Ligue 1 and is unlikely to be a potential starter. However, the Olympics do not have time and “this trading strategy is not made to strengthen your team. You need an action plan to get OL out of this barrier position. Today you implement a strategy where you tell yourself that you are going to make money by selling Fofana, Orban. This is business and there is no plan to save the Olympics from relegation.”

With 72 hours left, it might already be too late, but by adding elements like Benrahma or Mangala, Pierre Clever will have excessive competition. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to sustain itself.

The Olympics are under pressure before the OM, what about the winter transfer window?

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