Lyon's transfer budget
I am intrigued how Lyon can afford to set Gerrard Houllier a budget of 200 million euros to spend. That's over £130million from a club that has a turnover nowhere near the size of the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United. They do not have the huge tv deal in France that the English Premier League teams enjoy, yet they can still put such a massive sum at Ged's disposal.
My main worry if I was Lyon would be how well Houllier will spend it. His buys for Liverpool hardly show signs of a mastery of the transfer market, though some were the fault of bad coaching while at the club. The likes of Djimi 'Bambi on ice' Traore and El Hadji 'lots of phlegm' Diouf are hardly inspired signings, and Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle are hardly of the quality of Cesc Fabregas. I won't even mention the likes of Salif Diao!
This is Houllier's chance to show he can manage a big budget, but his main problem will be convincing top quality players to play in France. He will encounter the same problems as Scottish teams, the best players want to play in England, Spain and Italy.
If Lyon can hold onto Fred and Juninho Pernambucano then they can use those as bait to attract players, with Champions league football also a good lure. The trouble is who is out there for them to buy? The likes of Fernando Torres and David Villa would never join Lyon, the striker I would expect them to move for is Djibril Cisse. Monsieur Houllier spent a lot of time and effort to get Cisse to Anfield then got the push before Djib's actually completed his move.
I would also expect Lyon to be one of the clubs to offer Tal Ben Haim a contract, though I can't see Ben Haim leaving the EPL. I believe that is why he has yet to sign a pre-contract, because the club he will join in the summer is English. I would expect Lyon to enter the Portugese, Russian and German markets and look to cherry-pick their best players. Flamini is also a very real possibility if he fails to get the offers he is hoping for from Spain and Italy.
Article written by Tris Burke