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Lyon forced to change stance, willing to sell Dembélé, Aouar, Memphis — report

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Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic

France v Slovenia - Qualifying European Championship U21 Photo by Aude Alcover/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Olymique Lyonnais were going to try to keep hold of all their star players, but their failure to qualify for the next season’s Champions League, made official by the cancellation of the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season — any lawsuits notwithstanding — has created an adverse financial situation.

So, as per a report from L’Equipe (via Get French Football News), they have been forced to reassess the situation as they try to grapple with the terms of the new reality.

According to the report, Lyon are now willing to listen to offers for at least two of midfielder Houssem Aouar, striker Moussa Dembélé and winger Memphis Depay in order to raise funds. It’s worth recollecting that Chelsea have long-standing interests in Dembélé and Aouar, so if true, this could be a great opportunity for the Blues.

Lyon CEO, Jean-Michel Antoine Aulas has recently admitted that he no longer had the aura of certainty that he usually does when discussing transfer plans.

“I’m going to do everything to keep the players, but players programmed to play European competitions may want to look elsewhere because we are deprived of the Champions League. I have no news for now. Memphis tells me that he is ready to discuss [a new contract] when he returns. His agents say that he rather reflects on a leaving opportunity if we don’t play in Europe.”

-Jean-Michel Antoine Aulas; source: Le Progres via Goal

In the case of Aouar, OL’s arguably best player in recent seasons despite his young age (21), the reported asking price is €50m and Lyon would like to get any transfer done as early as possible in order to acquire replacements.

From a Chelsea perspective, it’s hard to see where Aouar would fit in immediately, but at a discount for a player of his caliber and future potential, the Blues’ hierarchy might be well advised to keep an eye on the situation.

As for Dembélé, that ship appeared to have sailed some time ago, but the 23-year-old could come back into contention if Chelsea fail to sign Dries Mertens or sell Olivier Giroud, or both.