It may be premature, but Yoann Gourcuff, who claimed to be prepared to take a paycut to join Arsenal this summer, has been sensational so far.
Their once was a time when the name Yoann Gourcuff set fear and trepidation into many defenders hearts. When the talented playmaker was running the show at a rampant Bordeaux side, he found himself dubbed ‘the next Zidane’ - three years ago Gourcuff was the darling of French football.
Le Professeur could have had a career in professional tennis if it were not for his special talent for football, and not long after he was proclaimed the saviour of French football, things seemed to go on an extended rain delay.
He suffered a dip in form before joining Lyon, and since his internal Ligue 1 switch his career has nosedived. Injury has played a massive part in his demise but he has also been the implement of his own disaster - with languid and sluggish displays seeing him commonly lambasted in French column inches over the past three years. He showed glimpses of his talent last season, but he featured just 19 times in an injury ravaged campaign - this season was to be the making or breaking of him.
This summer he was linked with moves to Rennes and Lorient - as his time at Lyon appeared to be up. Lyon are not closed to the idea of letting him go, as his massive wage bill is a significant drain on their currently diminishing resources.
And Gourcuff reportedly admitted that he would be happy to take a pay-cut to join Arsenal this summer - such is his desire to play in the Premier League.
But why would Arsenal want him? Another over-rated, injury prone, French flop cluttering up their squad - no thanks.
But then again, they might have seen him play this season - which would change everything.
The Ligue 1 campaign is but two games young, yet there is no doubt over which player has stolen the show so far this season - Gourcuff.
He has been sensational in both of Lyon’s games. In the opening fixture against Nice he pulled the strings throughout, setting up two goals before firing home a 35-yard free-kick to put his name on the score-sheet.
This weekend gone was no different. He was again at the fulcrum of everything good in Lyon’s play, and scored again in a comfortable 3-1 triumph.
In recent months he has been outshone by his young pretender Clement Grenier. But now, if Lyon can hold on to the elder statesman, the pair look like a duo capable of bringing silverware back to the Stade Gerland - even at this early stage.
The ‘next Zidane’? - no, that he is not, but it seems there is still plenty of time for Yoann Gourcuff to jot his own name down in the history books, if he carries on performing like this in 2013-14.
Here is his free-kick against Nice…
image: © y.caradec