Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has responded to claims Nabil Fekir is pushing for a revived move to Liverpool, with his stance shifting from June.
Aulas has taken a decidedly public role in negotiations over Fekir’s future, swaying from emphatic declarations of the player’s commitment to claiming interest from Man United and Real Madrid.
The 69-year-old insisted at the end of June that the Ligue 1 club “have the means to keep” their captain, and that they “do not let anyone go to have the best team.”
Speaking to RMC Sport last week, Aulas said he expected Fekir to stay at Parc Olympique Lyonnais after having given him “the opportunity to join Liverpool because of their legendary status.”
Responding to this speculation in an interview with Le Progres, Aulas stressed that Fekir “still has his heart in Lyon,” but then added “maybe he will go to Liverpool, or to another club.”
“It seems to me that Liverpool could come back to the table. That’s what I saw in the press, but I’m not informed,” he explained.
“His transfer failed in June, but he is not affected. He is quite fatalistic, focused on his World Cup, and he still has his heart in Lyon.
“We spoke to his brother, Yassin. Nabil is much closer to Lyon today than he was when we talked to Liverpool.
“Maybe he will go to Liverpool, or to another club, but if he stays at Lyon it will be a great year for him and for us.”
Fekir is likely to be on the substitutes’ bench for France in Sunday’s World Cup final against Croatia, and his involvement in Russia has stalled any progress with a deal.
But he has already completed a medical with Liverpool, which led to the breakdown in their deal, as well as undergoing media duties with the club and agreeing a five-year contract worth £120,000 a week.
If Liverpool are to reopen talks with Lyon, and the French side are clearly willing to do so, it could prove relatively straightforward.
Fekir fits the mould perfectly, and Liverpool have seemingly not identified any alternatives beyond West Ham‘s Manuel Lanzini, who is sidelined until next year with a knee injury.