Lyon might be forgiven for starting to believe they have been short changed with Yoann Gourcuff. The 25 year old has hardly lived up to expectations after his €22 Million transfer from Bordeaux at the start of the 2010/11 season.
The Frenchman has now made 28 international appearances but his last Lyon appearance was back in December in a 1-0 loss to Valenciennes when he was hauled off after 54 minutes.
He has found it tough at Lyon after arriving on the back of a dismal World Cup showing and then suffering with an ankle injury. It was a torrid World Cup for Gourcuff who appeared in the 0-0 draw with Uruguay before being substituted off and being highly criticised for his performance. He was then sent off in the 2-1 defeat to South Africa which ended in France dropping out of the competition.
It had been reported in the French press that he was being ignored in the French camp, often the outcast of the group. There was also speculation that Nicolas Anelka and Franck Ribéry were ignoring him in games and refusing to pass to him.
We don’t know if these claims were true but what was evident was there was clear dispute among the French camp throughout that World Cup which can have only damaged Gourcuff’s confidence after being labelled the next big star after leading Bordeaux to Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue glory in 08/09.
Injuries have also set back the influential midfielder. He struggled towards the end of last season with an ankle injury and then in the summer he had surgery on it which ruled him out for preseason and the start of the current season. He came back in October and seemed to have forced his way back into Rémi Garde’s plans, managing 11 appearances and even playing in the Champion’s League , but since the winter break he has been out of the side.
Gourcuff was then heavily linked with a January move to Arsenal but this was quickly hushed by all parties with Garde insisting he was still very much part of his plans. We are still to see the best of Gourcuff but one saying that we hear time and time again is ‘class is permanent, form is temporary’.
Hopefully he can overcome the persistent ankle injury, get his confidence back and become the €22 Million player Lyon thought they had.