Things have cooled off recently in the transfer market, given that the Copa America is in full swing and the rest of Europe are on vacation for a few weeks. When we last left off in the transfer saga involving Daniel Levy of Tottenham Hotspur and Jean-Michel Aulas of Olympic Lyonnais, the two were in a standoff over the potential fee. Levy seemed content to hold out, bolstered by the report that Aulas wants to get Ndombele on the books before June 30 while Aulas was begging anyone else to bid to drive up the price.
All of that is pretty standard in the wonderful world of silly season, but if we’re looking for any sign of flinching, we may have a signal flare shooting out of France today. Lyon have announced the signing of Santos F.C. midfielder Jean Lucas.
Lyon hasn’t admitted that they wanted a replacement for Ndombele before letting him go and Aulas can just as easily tell everyone that this is added depth in the midfield. The transfer fee is just €8m, which means that Lyon could turn a hell of a profit in the long run.
The only thing that gives me pause about this move is that Jean Lucas isn’t a proven commodity. Yes, he is being touted as the next Brazilian to take a huge step in his career, but he played just 517 minutes last season for Santos, even though he was over 600 minutes in the young Brazilian Serie A season. It’s clear Lyon rated him enough to bring him in, and looking at Lyon’s roster suggests they’ll lean heavily on Lucas Toussart and Houssem Aouar in the upcoming campaign.
There is still a chance that Ndombele doesn’t move, but I think it’s slim at best that he stays. While Lyon have cashed in on Ferland Mendy, a payday with Ndombele is probably too good to pass up, especially if Aulas is hellbent on getting this done in the next week. If that’s the case, expect there to be a flurry of activity in the next couple of days. Levy may be getting his wish in holding out for a lower fee, but we’ll ultimately have to wait and see when these two lock horns for actual negotiations.
UPDATE (9:30AM ET): Time to stop mincing words, according to GFFN:
Breaking | Lyon President Aulas reveals that Tanguy Ndombele has now asked to leave the club: "He is seeking a departure. Nothing is done but the door may be open."— Get French Football News (@GFFN) June 25, 2019
GET IT DONE, LEVY!
UPDATE #2 (9:35AM ET): Here are the original tweets that triggered the GFFN tweet.
@JM_Aulas "C'est une affaire qui s'est faite assez rapidement. Quand nous sommes allés au Brésil pour la Pelé Academia nous avons rencontré des amis. Juninho a souhaité que l'on saisisse l'opportunité. @jeanlucas_08 s'est engagé pour 5 ans" pic.twitter.com/tqqHhGV0I5— Olympique Lyonnais (@OL) June 25, 2019
"Tanguy Ndombele est sollicité par les plus grands clubs. Rien n'est fait. Si il devait partir on a ciblé un certain nombre de joueurs. Thiago Mendes en fait partie"— Olympique Lyonnais (@OL) June 25, 2019
“Tanguy Ndombele is solicited by the biggest clubs. Nothing is done. If he had to leave we targeted a certain number of players. Thiago Mendes is one of them “