5th July, 2012
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has left the door open for several members of his first-team squad to leave the club this summer but says the seven-time French champions remain ambitious.
Under coach Remi Garde, OL won the French Cup last season but their fourth-place finish in Ligue 1 was their worst performance since 1998.
Aulas presided over almost a decade of domination by Lyon in France, but with the financial muscle of Paris Saint-Germain threatening to leave the rest of the country lagging behind, OL know a title challenge may be beyond them.
However, European qualification remains a realistic aim for a side that still boasts one of the biggest budgets in the French game.
“We will compete for European qualification via the league and will also try to go as far as we possibly can in the Europa League,” said Aulas in an interview with Lyon’s official club website.
“I think it’s a shame that some people think we lack ambition these days.
“We will have one of the three largest budgets in France behind Paris and probably Lille and I have faith in the coaching staff and the players.”
Despite that, Aulas admits that the club will study offers for big name players such as Michel Bastos and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, as well as others who under-performed last season.
“A certain number of players were not good enough last season and will leave or at least be placed on the transfer list,” he said.
Of Lloris, who has been linked with Arsenal, Aulas added: “Hugo told me he would like to leave if an offer comes in from one of the biggest five clubs in Europe.
“If one of these clubs make an offer that matches his market value, in other words 20 million euros ($25.2m) then he can go.
“If there is no offer before 15 July, he will remain at the club for the coming season.
“For the moment, there has been no offer, neither from Arsenal nor anywhere else.”
Lyon begin their season against champions Montpellier in the Champions Trophy – France’s equivalent of a SuperCup – in New York on 28 July before going to Rennes in their opening league game on 11 August.