Lyon president Jean-Michael Aulas is regarded as a shrewd schemer and negotiator in the cut-throat landscape of the football transfer market, but not even he could initially envision a future where his team may have kept big star Nabil Fekir from leaving his club this summer.
And sure enough, Fekir looked on the doorstep of a Liverpool transfer, before the Reds pulled out at the eleventh hour due to concerns about the transfer fee (£) and the player’s history of knee issues. But having already made plans for life after Fekir, Aulas was still exploring opportunities to cash in, which is where Chelsea come in.
Rumors linking the Blues with the France international were relatively plentiful in what was mostly a quiet summer at Cobham and it turns out there was good reason for all that. But despite the stories and the intentions behind them — and even the wooing by Giroud & Hazard — Chelsea were not interested.
Lyon President Aulas on Nabil Fékir: "We spoke with Chelsea representatives, they had no interest at all in him." https://t.co/IALqZTi6eY— Get French Football News (@GFFN) August 29, 2018
“In the beginning, when we thought about our summer transfer window and how to organise the future squad, we thought that he was practically gone. That’s why we have been able to adapt things.
“We spoke with Chelsea representatives, and they had no interest at all in him. From then on, we realised we could change our plans (as Nabil would stay).”
-Jean-Michael Aulas; source: Metro
Chelsea reinforced the midfield and found a Courtois replacement, but we did not add to the attack. Instead, we’ve welcomed back Willian (over Martial, potentially) and extended Pedro’s contract by a year, to 2020. Fekir would’ve been a more expensive, but probably stronger option that either of those two?
Maybe we’ll find out in the future. For now, Fekir remains a Lyon player.