Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has stressed that the club have no plans of parting ways with Memphis Depay in January despite the fact that his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Netherlands international agreed personal terms with Barcelona during the summer transfer window, but the move fell through on deadline day due to financial reasons.
Earlier last month, Aulas suggested that Depay will do everything to join the Catalan giants in January, but he has now indicated that the club have no desire to lose their prized asset for the campaign.
Meanwhile, the club president emphasised that the stance on the futures of Houssem Aouar and Moussa Dembele remain the same. The former was the subject of a failed approach from Arsenal last summer.
“Memphis, I’m not in love with him but I think he can bring to Lyon a dimension that everyone wants the club to have. But, no, we are seemingly not going to keep him [at the end of his contract],” He told RMC Sport.
“I was the first to say he would not go to Barcelona. Nobody listened to me during the transfer window because everybody thought he would leave. There is not only Memphis, but also Houssem Aouar and Moussa Dembele.”
“From the start, I told you, they will not leave because in a year when we were unfairly deprived of European football, we absolutely have to make a success of the season. So he will stay.”
Lyon failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 24 years last season. The club finished seventh on the Ligue 1 table when the campaign was prematurely ended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They had the opportunity to qualify for the Europa League by winning the last-ever Coupe de la Ligue final, but they were marginally beaten by Paris Saint-Germain through a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 scoreline.
Rudi Garcia’s side made a valiant effort in the Champions League as they reached the semi-final for the first time in their history, but were beaten 3-0 by eventual champions Bayern Munich.
Les Gones have been slow to get off the blocks this season, but they have picked up momentum since the October international break. They are currently fifth on the table, just one point behind the final Champions League spot.
Depay has been a huge influence in the attack since his arrival from Manchester United three years ago and he has bagged 59 goals and 46 assists from 148 appearances across all competitions.
He missed vast parts of the previous campaign with a knee injury, but has stayed unscathed since football action returned after the lockdown. In the current season, he has been one of the club’s top performers with five goals and three assists from 10 outings.
Hence, Les Gones are aware that keeping Depay gives them the best chance of pushing for Champions League football and they appear prepared to lose him on a free transfer next summer, suppose the contract stand-off continues.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com