For most of the season it has been pretty clear that Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons was a certainty to leave Ligue 1 for pastures new this summer. However, with both Arsenal and Napoli interested in the midfielder, it seems he is happy to speak to new coach Hubert Fournier before making any big decisions for the new season.
Speaking during a press conference at the national team headquarters in Clairefontaine, Gonalons made it clear that he had not made any decisions as to where he would play his football next season.
“For my future, I do not have to give a percentage on my chance of staying in Lyon. The OL coach has changed and I must meet him. I need some answers with regards to my ambitions. I have to discuss with the president and the coach. We need to talk and then I'll decide. I need to continue to grow and evolve.”
Lyon finished fifth in Ligue 1 this season and will play in the Europa League next campaign; it is a competition that Gonalons has already experienced so it would be interesting to see what he still thinks he has to gain from staying in Lyon for another season despite the change of coach at the club.
If he really wants to grow and evolve, he needs to experience a new challenge, be that at a new club or a new league.
Arsene Wenger has been a long-term admirer of the 25-year-old and as a tough, controlled and intelligent midfielder; he could be the perfect member of the Arsenal side for next season. He would be the perfect long-term replacement for Mikael Arteta and would provide protection for both Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey that would help them continue to push forward and create havoc from the midfield positions.
Napoli have also been keen admirers, and Rafa Benitez has been trying since the winter transfer window to secure Gonalons signature. It would be a huge surprise if the player remained in France for another season. Regardless of what Fournier has to say, Gonalons future depends on him moving on before the new season starts.