Out With The Youth, In With The Youth

“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough!” The cliche mantra that all aspiring young Olympique Lyonnais academy players whisper to themselves as they drift asleep every night, it’s also a mentality that runs rich through the veins of the clubs DNA. From the president Jean Michel Aulas and to the supporters Lyonnais and worldwide, it’s no longer a well kept secret that the club is topped to the brim with young talented players all fizzing to become the next breakout star, and add their name to the rich list of stars to have passed through the colours of Olympique Lyonnais.

Jean Lucas signed from Santos
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Sylvinho’s Big Day: Monaco vs. Lyon Preview

Summer vacation’s over already? It’s hard to believe, but it’s been two months since last season ended. In that time, there have been many changes within the club, everything from new faces arriving, familiar ones leaving, and the return of Juninho as sporting director.

But despite the new-look team, all eyes will firmly be fixed on Sylvinho. As the new manager, he must show at least the promise of what he was brought in to do – change Lyon from perennial podium members to actual title contenders. And as this game is the season opener, there is extra pressure to make sure Lyon is off to a good start.

Friday, August 9th, 2019
2:45 PM EST (20h45 CET)
Stade Louis II, Monaco
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Lyon streamroll their way through the summer transfer window

In a sharp departure from previous years, Lyon have been very efficient in the early part of this transfer window, with multiple signings for the men’s and women’s teams completed within just the first 3 weeks.

This level of productivity is unheard of – I’m used to Lyon dragging their heels all summer, with other clubs pulling their hair out, several Twitter tantrums from Aulas, and at least one Lyon player threatening to boycott training. Someone also usually ends up in therapy. That’s always been the Lyon way.

Everyone’s new favorite boy band: Thiago and the Dream Team

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Podcast: Episode 4 – Game of Thrones, Lyon Edition

Forget the television phenomenon–the most stressful battles of the year will be happening on the pitch, as OL Féminin attempt to defend their European hegemony against a Barcelona squad somehow playing the role of plucky underdog. Meanwhile, the men are fighting for a Champions League berth without some important defensive stalwarts. Sam (@OZOL1950), Arianna (@AScavs), and Nick (@NicholasMamo) break down the battle plans as we head toward the season finales.

Have a listen below! You will also find timestamps for specific topics if you’d like to jump around. If there are any topics you’d like us to cover, just tweet at any one of us, or you can send an email to LyonOffside@gmail.com.

Topics Covered:

  • UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
    • Barcelona’s path to the final (0:40)
    • Pressure on Reynald Pedros? (5:55)
    • Consistency in results (10:00)
    • Majri moving on? (17:15)
  • De Facto Finals in Ligue 1
    • Motivation for the final sprint (23:00)
    • Strength of schedule compared to ASSE (30:10)
    • Short-staffed on defense (39:00)
    • Champions League berth at stake (45:45)
  • Mercato Predictions
    • Fekir/Memphis/Ndombele/Mendy – Choose 2 (52:15)

Cover photo via Dominique Mallen (@dommal38)

The revolving door comes to a halt?

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.

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