Sometimes a team selection can give you a clear idea that a transfer is close – sometimes you can just read into things far too much, but there’s some interesting takeaways from Lyon’s starting XI vs Montpellier tonight.
Captain and talisman Memphis Depay has been dropped to the bench, while Houssem Aouar has been instilled as the new captain from the start of the game.
Houssem Aouar captains Lyon this evening.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) September 15, 2020
The reason that this becomes more interesting is because both players have been heavily linked with a summer exit, so it does make you wonder if this is a sign of anything being close.
There are a lot of suggestions that everything has been agreed for Depay to move to Barcelona in the next couple of weeks, so being dropped to the bench does suggest Lyon are moving on and he might get a few minutes at the end as a farewell:
Barcelona will end up signing Depay – final fee €30m [add ons included as per @MikeVerweij]. The first official bid will be accepted by OL. Personal terms already agreed days ago. #MUFC never been interested in matching the bid. Koeman spoke with Memphis last week. ? #FCB https://t.co/iLtcHGhPrM
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 14, 2020
The situation with Aouar is much less clear as The Metro reported that Mikel Arteta is desperate to bring him to Arsenal, but it does look like finances are going to be an issue there.
It does make you wonder if gaining the captaincy is an attempt from Lyon to show their star player that everything will be built around him in an effort to convince him to stay.
Before kick off it did look like Depay was much more likely to leave than Aouar, and the team selection tonight also ties into that narrative.