L’Équipe report that Ligue 1 side Lyon will shortly meet with their star player Memphis Depay to begin contract extension negotiations with him, just days after he ruptured his ACL in a league-season ending injury.
Lyon President Aulas will not let this reality get in the way of him locking down their key player this season, whose current deal expires in 2021. JMA likes to show the players that mean the most to him their value, especially in times of personal struggle.
He famously extended the contract of Claudio Caçapa in January 2005 when the player suffered a similarly bad knee injury.
Aulas and Memphis have a unique relationship. The former likes Depay’s talent and he has a soft spot for his personality. The Dutchman in return knows what Lyon as a club have done for him, picking him back up again for €16m when he was at his lowest after a failed move to Manchester United.
Even during testing moments, when Depay was letting his fiery personality get the better of him or was on a bad run of form, Aulas has always stood by his side. This was not the case of the Manchester United board when the Dutchman was with the Red Devils.
Thanks to Depay, OL are through to the Champions’ League Round of 16, with the player scoring 5 goals in 5 matches. Since Nabil Fékir’s departure to Real Betis, Depay is the undisputed key man, with Rudi Garcia confirming this to the rest of the world by recently making the ex-PSV player club captain.
For Depay, a contract extension would be a safety net. The truth is that nobody knows whether they will play to the same level again after an ACL injury. It would give him the security. At the moment, both parties agree on the principle that this situation needs sorting out, one way or another.
However, the early signs are promising for Lyon in their desire to extend Depay’s contract – both have the same idea in mind. Depay, who had initially wanted to leave at the end of this season, would stay for another 12 months with a likely slightly improved salary and the chance to prove to the rest of European football that his ACL injury is not career-path altering. Lyon would get to keep a star player for another campaign and ensure that they don’t lose him for nothing the following summer. The question of salary may take some time, but unfortunately Depay and his representatives have a lot of that right now…