The case of Yoann Gourcuff is a very weird one. A player who had two excellent seasons for Bordeaux, started declining and still got a huge contract from Lyon, making him the highest paid Frenchman. A deal he’s now willing to take a big paycut on if it means he can join Arsenal.
According to Lyon’s president, the always willing to speak Jean-Michel Aulas, Gourcuff, who had a brilliant start to the season with a goal and two assists in the 4-0 win over Nice in the opening weekend, wants a move to the Premier League. Earlier, his €100,000 per week deal prevented Arsenal, with their strict wage structure, from making a move or moving forward with negotiations. Now, it seems, there’s more willingness from Gourcuff to be flexible.
All that I know, if I understood correctly, is that he was ready to lower his salary to go to Arsenal. We can’t change the contract. The only solution is to extend it. If the amortization is done over eight years when it was planned over five, it becomes less expensive. But we’re in a quite unfair system: if there’s someone to criticize for his salary, it’s me. I signed it, that contract, with his agent. He isn’t for sale, but he can be bought.
It’s not quite clear if Arsenal are still interested in Gourcuff, who has been through quite a lot of injuries since joining Lyon in 2010. He played in only 18 league matches last season, and Clement Grenier has been the biggest star in the Lyon midfield over the last year. Arsenal have shown a lot more interest in Grenier, who is also younger, than Gourcuff over the past summer.
There has been speculation in France regarding Gourcuff leaving to another French club, with Lyon paying some of his wages, as only PSG and Monaco can afford what Lyon are currently paying him. Aulas has turned that option down, calling it ridiculous, and it seems the only option for Gourcuff to leave Lyon is finding a Premier League club to sign him. Arsenal might be interested, but probably have this one sitting on the back burner.