Lyon have had a series of contacts with Arsène Wenger about the vacant managerial post for next season, according to L’Équipe.
President Aulas announced to the press earlier this week that the club would do nothing in the way of approaching new managers until after Lyon’s key clash with Lille next weekend, but that “this does not stop me from thinking about it and making secret contacts.”
That is exactly what has happened in recent days: Lyon have made contact with Arsène Wenger – but it appears that it was not Aulas himself who met with the former Arsenal boss. When Lyon are looking for a manager, it is Aulas’ trusted right-hand man Jérôme Seydoux who interviews systematically all the candidates on the short-list – Seydoux has fulfilled this role since 1999.
Lyon dream of Wenger, a man who has always maintained a good relationship with Lyon special advisor Gérard Houllier. The question is can a club which owns its stadium, that is stable financially and consistent from a football perspective, with the best youth academy in the country, with the ability to invest after the more or less planned departures of Tanguy Ndombele, Memphis Depay and maybe Nabil Fékir, Maxwel Cornet and Lucas Tousart – convince Wenger to join?
At the age of 69, Wenger is nearing his final decisions in terms of clubs to manage, potentially his final management job. Since his departure from Arsenal last May, he has already turned down a large number of propositions. He has a good relationship with Thomas Tuchel, the PSG boss, and working by his side as a Sporting Director would surely not displease him.
The intention in terms of structurally with Wenger from Lyon’s side would appear to be to make the ex-Arsenal boss a manager in the English football sense of the word – with control over all footballing decisions across the club and to have Juninho by his side on the coaching staff. But in reality, the Brazilian has been far away from football for several months, concentrating on politics.
As for Wenger’s desire? He has become accustomed to a life without a match every three days, and is still high in demand for commentary gigs, speeches and suchlike across the globe – he is currently in Doha for a stint with BeIN Sports.
Alongside Wenger, Lyon continue to actively pursue Rafa Benitez (Newcastle), Laurent Blanc (free) and Patrick Vieira (OGC Nice).