Recently Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier was in the news for scoring this wonder goal against Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly …
Looking at the skill involved, in that magnificent look-away volley, it is easy to understand just exactly why Arsenal, among others, were taking a very close look at the player this summer.
But talent aside, there was another reason why this summer in particular saw clubs scrambling to the front of a queue shouting ‘pick me, pick me’.
Because the players contract ran out in the summer of 2014.
Like the sharks big football clubs are, and have to be in this day and age they smelled blood, and circled their prey - hoping to bring one of French football’s biggest talents to their lair.
The player himself even suggested he could be on the move - naming Arsenal as a possible destination.
Then, as if from out of the blue, he signed a contract extension with the French outfit until 2016. http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11800/8820590/
"It was difficult for me to relax on holiday as things hadn't been settled. I found it tough to communicate. In my head, I knew I wanted to stay in Lyon and that it was my priority. I needed to be psychologically and physically ready to start European competition. This extension is good news for me personally. I've had six good months, but I'm not finished improving."
Fairly reasonable and on the one hand it is good to see a young talent, like Grenier, not jumping at the first opportunity to switch countries - instead deciding to wait a little while longer, and improve, until a move is simply the natural progression.
But it looks as if that might not be the whole reason - rather a sense of owing his current club something in return, might have been the cause for his sudden extension.
He has stated today:
‘’I have a contract which now runs until 2016 . We'll see what happens here in a year. Anyway, I told the President that whatever happens, I will not leave my club for free. If we can bring a little money.’’
So while Arsenal may not have their man now ... there is still hope he could arrive in a years’ time.
Grenier wanted to ensure his current club, who have done so much for his career progression, receive a fair reward for the work they have put in to his career so far.
And after previously admitting a fondness for Arsenal, they might still get to see look-away volleys at The Emirates in 2014-15 - just not for free.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald