Benzema, Lacazette, Martial, Tolisso, Ben Arfa, Umtiti, Fekir, Aouar, Lopes etc… Okay! We get it! The Olympique Lyonnais academy conveyor belt’s ability of producing quality footballers, gift wrapped and ready for a high level international career is well documented, and to quote Moussa Dembélé #IfYouDontKnowNowYouKnow! Around the academy is an incredibly successful recruitment cell led by OL’s secret weapon and chief recruiter Florian Maurice, whose ability to still find hidden gems at low prices in this modern age of football is both astounding and vital to the OL DNA and its ongoing success.
Despite only Anthony Lopes and Nabil Fekir left at the club (Jordan Ferri is currently out on loan to Ligue 1 club Nîmes Olympique), supporters and onlookers have become accustomed to the revolving door of exciting young talent passing from the academy through to the first team. Youngsters at the club are drawing more and more attention from supporters and the footballing world alike as the next big talents.
The strong generation of Ferri, Lacazette, N’jie, Grenier, Fekir, Umtiti, Tolisso, Benzia, Plea and Lopes, most of whom came into prominence during Rémi Garde’s tenure as coach between 2011-14 came to fruition during the 14-15 season under new coach Hubert Fournier. Fournier himself greatly benefited from the trust that Garde was somewhat forced to place on the academy players coming through at the time. Since these players came through, there had been a frustrating gap in quality between the reservists and the first team causing OL to rely more on canny and smart recruitment. Now it’s far different, the current crop of u19 players (not to mention a handful of 15/16 year olds), are already starting to knock on Genesio’s front door for a first team place.