How Arsenal could take advantage of the 'crisis' at Lyon

Lyon is a club in crisis according to the French press after the side was hammered 5-1 away at Montpellier last weekend.

The result has left the French club rooted in the bottom half of Ligue One in 14th place, dropping points in six matches from their first nine games.

According to L’Equipe, Lyon’s owner and chairman Jean-Michel Aulas isn’t even trying to keep out talk of a crisis now that the French league takes a short break for the latest round of international games.

“Jean-Michel Aulas has not sought to deny the obvious: Lyon is in crisis, without anyone even knowing if it is sustainable or not,” reads the L’Equipe report.

There is a very simple way that Arsenal can pounce on the situation and it comes in the form of a player they tried to sign over the summer; Maxime Gonalons.

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The 24-year-old defensive midfielder turned down the chance to leave the club over the summer, suggesting that he was fully focused on improving his game and winning with the French side.

“Things are clear. I’m going to stay at Lyon next season because I still have things to learn and things to prove. I want to win with Lyon. I have been approached this summer and it’s always good to know that you’re been followed by great clubs,” he told RMC back in July.

If the apparent crisis at Lyon is prolonged towards the winter, then Arsenal are in a very good position to be able to make a move for Gonalons.

He clearly feels as though he’s not a complete player, which is where Arsene Wenger comes in and the fact there is space in the Arsenal squad for a defensively minded midfielder.

The Gunners are blessed in terms of attacking talent but as things stand, the club could use another player similar to Mathieu Flamini in terms of racing around the pitch, breaking up the play and showing that aggression.

The obstacle is how he would take being second fiddle to Flamini in the current first team.

Gonalons has made 12 starts in all competitions for Lyon so far this season in a side which is struggling. Therefore, he’s not going to walk straight into the first team at the Emirates Stadium.

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That’s where Wenger would really earn his money because his man management skills would be vital in that sort of situation, as he tries to convince a player to move who he clearly has a lot of admiration for.

Gonalons has made his ambition to win silverware clear but as things stand, no one can deny Arsenal have a better current chance of winning silverware on all fronts than the French club.

The chance to wear winner’s medals in the Premier League and domestic tournaments is one of the few advantages Arsenal can stress of a move to North London.

It will not be easy if Arsenal want to re-visit a potential Gonalons transfer because of his age and the three-years left to run on his contract but if Lyon are still a mid-table side by January, Wenger may choose to pounce.

What do you think? Would Gonalons be a good squad addition for the Gunners?

images: © zongo, © julien haler

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