Lyon star Nabil Fekir looks once again set to depart the Ligue 1 outfit – and will hope that this time the deal can make it over the line. The 25-year-old had previously looked set to depart France for a move to Premier League side Liverpool, and had even recorded an interview for LFC TV. On top of that, the Merseysiders held a photoshoot of Fekir in the Reds’ home kit, with the move having looked all but done. However, Liverpool pulled the plug on the transfer at the last minute, leaving Fekir to return to the club he thought he had left to ply his trade once again in the 2018-19 campaign. Suggestions have risen up, meanwhile, that not one, but two top European clubs are keeping tabs on his progress.
The belief is that Liverpool had cancelled the transfer owing to worries about the France international’s knees, but he will be hoping whatever problem the club found won’t be an issue with Bayern Munich wanting to bring him to the Bundesliga, while Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Chelsea seem favourites to secure his services in January. When Fekir’s previous move to England fell through he claimed to the press that he was happy to remain at Lyon, even admitting the possibility of a contract extension could be on the cards. He has struggled somewhat to stamp his authority on the French top flight so far, however – notching up only 11 fantasy points from his seven appearances so far. Then again, he is their second best performing player this season behind Houssem Aouar (23 points), and just ahead of striker Martin Terrier (eight points).
A player of his calibre, however, will almost certainly start to gain more as the campaign goes on – and admittedly he did lose three points in one game in September when he was booked and missed a penalty in Lyon’s 1-1 draw with Nantes. Lyon will have cause for optimism in the hopes of keeping Fekir from leaving the club for a second time, however (he originally left as a youth player in 2007). The team have started the campaign brightly and presently sit fourth in the Ligue 1 table, 14 points league leaders Paris Saint-Germain. That may sound like a large points gap – and, of course, it is – but PSG’s 100% start to the campaign looks to have all-but won them the title already. Ultimately, Lyon are just four points behind second-placed Montpellier.
If they can keep up that kind of form and reach European football by the season’s end, then all the better for the club. Perhaps they can use the chase to convince Fekir to stay and fight for the cause, though if he does take a look at either Bayern or Chelsea and decides his heart is away from the Groupama Stadium then there may be little the club is able to do. His injury record may have been enough to offer concern to Liverpool, but Lyon seem more than happy to have him on their books – as you would expect for such a fine player. Only time will tell whether either the Bundesliga or the Premier League lies in Fekir’s future, but for the time being the focus at Lyon must be on getting him to perform at his absolute best for their club while he remains a Lyon player.
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