Just as Arsenal begins to put together their most-wanted list for January’s transfer window, they have been dealt a blow in the chase for Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons.
The 25-year-old French international and OL captain this morning signed an extension to his current contract, that would see him stay at Lyon until 2018.
His existing deal would have run till 2016, and the new deal might not mean he says at Les Gones until the end of the new deal, but it certainly suggests that the club will receive a hefty fee if he was to leave the club in the next few years.
This season, as Lyon climbed up to third in Ligue 1, Gonalons has shown week after week just why he has been a long-term target for both Napoli in Serie A and Arsene Wenger’s side.
Playing at the base of Hubert Fournier’s 4-3-1-2 Gonalons has been a becon of maturity and control. Bringing together a very young Lyon side and helping them to play some of the best free-flowing football in France.
There is little doubt that Gonalons is ready to make the step up to either Italy or England, but his dedication to the club that formed him is admirable.
Lyon are now trying to secure a place in next season’s Champions League, so they can welcome some of Europe’s biggest clubs to their new 58,000 seater Stade de Luminers that opens at the beginning of next season ahead of the Euro 2016 championships.
Gonalons would be the ideal midfield signing for Arsenal. His no-nonsense approach, ability to read the game and excellent vision would give the Gunners the extra level of protection they have been missing for a few years.
The new contract for Gonalons follows on from the similar deal that Alexandre Lacazette signed in the summer. Both are set to stay at the club beyond this summer, and more importantly, if a club wants to make a bid, Lyon would be greatly compensated for two of their most important and impressive players.
Arsenal will likely now look elsewhere for a defensive midfielder, but they will be hard pushed to find someone with the same wonderful qualities as Gonalons.