Most refer to it as the good old transfer window. Some call it the Silly Season. If you are an Olympique Lyonnais fan, you might know it as Reverse Christmas, or that time of the year when your favorite club is pillaged, rather than showered in gifts.
It’s near midnight on 8/28, so I’m aware that there’s still two days left where things could drastically change. But Lyon have a poor track record of happy surprises, so I’m going to tackle their mercato – or lack thereof.
I confess that I debated awhile if I should even post. No one has any idea what’s going on, and what the media is reporting is often times incorrect and sometimes a straight up lie. So if anything I wrote below is false, blame Bilel.
(Note: I wrote this in the evening of 8/28 in US Eastern time). By the time this posts, some of this information may be outdated because I may be sleeping when Aulas finally decides to do some business.)
To an outsider, Olympique Lyonnais must resemble a stereotypical spoiled child, with its sterling bank balance and its president strutting on Twitter. Internally, however, things are a bit different.
OL has been in dire need of central defenders for over a year. But in spite of their obvious defensive shortcomings, the club procrastinated until the prospect of failure became too real to ignore. With five days left until the transfer window shuts for good, the club’s slow pace to conclude signings has left a defense that is very similar to how it started.
Things have gotten so desperate for Lyon fans that they’re just making things up at this point. Case in point, this past Saturday during Benfica’s away game against Boavista, Ruben Dias was walking off the pitch, turned around and went back to the Benfica supporters, and then threw his jersey into the crowd. Nothing out of the ordinary except he was the only one to do so. The other Benfica players kept their clothes on.
While most of world sees this as fake news, Lyon fans see this as sign that Dias is saying goodbye in the only way footballers know how, which is to take off their sweaty, smelly shirts and give it to people who are desperate and have no lives and probably have their club’s name tattooed above their butts in a trampstamp.
No, I’m not talking about myself. I’m not.
It’s been an emotional 24 hours for OL fans.
First, L’Equipe reported that the signing of Ruben Dias was imminent. Everyone started making posters for his arrival at the airport. The Groupama cafeteria placed an online order for salted fish. I personally downloaded a Portuguese language app so I would be ready to comment on his Instagram.
Lyon fans were overjoyed. Finally, the defender we all deserved.
Then, my friend Bilel posted this tweet:
Negotiations over Ruben Dias have reached a point of no return.
Lyon have been stalking him for awhile, and it’s safe to say that everyone at the club is obsessed with him. Unlike Yerry Mina, who had garnered split opinions with Lyon’s recruiting cell, approval for Dias has been unanimous.
Aulas likes him, Genesio likes him, Florian Maurice likes him (he has a picture of Dias in his wallet), the fans like him, even the cafeteria lady likes him. So what’s the hold up?
His release clause.
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.