We all saw the warning signs. Myziane Maolida, coming off a fantastic U19 campaign, was facing the prospect of another season at OL spent in the reserves. Lyon were already overloaded with attackers, and their recent if somewhat inexplicable signing of Reo Griffiths was the final nail in Maolida’s coffin.
In comes Nice to save the day. They made an offer that Lyon just couldn’t refuse, and next thing you know, Maolida is taking leisurely strolls down the French Riviera.
I know, it’s unreasonable to expect that Lyon will get to keep all their players, and of the hundreds of kids that go through their academy, only a handful ever break into the first team.
However, Maolida is a confirmed talent. He does tend to blow hot and cold, but he’s still young, and consistency is a skill that players work to achieve. Some naysayers are saying that losing Maolida isn’t a big deal, but Nice, whose entire yearly budget is just €50m, is spending €10m on him, plus they agreed to give Lyon 30% of his future sale. Aulas believes Maolida will go for big money and is expecting a tidy sum.
From Maolida’s perspective, it’s the right thing to do. He’s 19 years old and has already made 13 Ligue 1 and 6 Europa League appearances , scoring one goal (ironically, against Nice). But he’s still playing mostly in the reserves. When players like Kylian Mbappe are household names at the same age, Maolida knows he can’t wait around any longer. There’s a short window in which a player makes the full jump from prospect to player, and he’s in it. If he spends too much time on the bench, by the time he’s deemed ready to be a starter, he’ll have to compete with another group of incoming younger players as well.
Of course it would be great if he could break out at OL, but the club can’t guarantee him much playing time. So like many Lyon kids before him – Alassane Pléa, Loïc Rémy, and Anthony Martial come to mind – he’s decided to take his chances elsewhere.
Nice have a nice squad, and with Patrick Vieira at the helm, they will push for a European place. This will be good for Maolida, and in the moments when I’m not sobbing uncontrollably, I recognize that.
Unfortunately, I’m mostly feeling how I imagine One Direction fans felt when Zayn left the band. Amine Gouiri and Maxence Caqueret are now a duo, with a missing Maolida puzzle piece in between them.
The Nice-Matin has thoughtfully compiled a list of angry tweets from other OL fans over this transfer, so I know I’m not alone. I am however a bit disappointed that I didn’t make the list. I need to work on conveying my anger better over 280 characters.