After what seems like one of the longest transfer sagas of all time, there is now a chance that the future of Arsenal and Napoli target, Maxime Gonalons, could be at his current club Lyon.
It was reported in January that he was extremely close to a move to Italian side Napoli, it failed to materialise during the winter window, and it was understood that the move would happen as soon as a summer deal was possible.
Arsene Wenger was also meant to be very interested in bringing the 25-year-old midfielder to London to replace Mikael Arteta as the deep lying defensive player in Arsenal’s midfield, but now according to L’Equipe, Gonalons is set to stay for another 12 months in the Rhone valley.
The player and his agent met with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas on Monday lunchtime, and they told Aulas of the player’s desire to stay at OL for one more season. Gonalons is under contract until June 2016 and another season would still see Lyon able to cash-in on their captain.
Gonalons’ decision to stay in France for another year could be the catalyst to convince other Premier League targets like Alexandre Lacazette and Clement Grenier to stay at the club for another 12 months. All three players wanted assurances that there would not be another fire sale at the club.
Gaining the commitment of the club captain, could be more about keeping the other two stars, more than the future of Gonalons himself.
However, for Gonalons himself, it could be a bad move if he ever wants to take his career to the next level. At 25 years old, he is ready for the next step in his development; he has already perhaps left it a year too late. Once he starts reaching 26/27 years old, the number of clubs that see him as a prospect will start to disappear.
Arsenal would be the ideal place for the midfielder. He fits perfectly with Wenger’s style, he is an excellent passer of the ball and is defensively excellent and would grow into a commanding presence in the Gunners’ midfield.
If a club was to come in with a big offer to lure Gonalons away from Lyon, it could just turn his head, and prize him away from the only club he has ever known.