Olympique Lyon is one of the legendary clubs in France. Although his current fame is still less than that of Paris Saint-Germain, the club nicknamed Les Gones is still worthy of reckoning. Moreover, Lyon has always been consistent at the top of Ligue 1 in the last few seasons.
The consistency of Les Gones is supported by the presence of its flagship players. The player became a key figure for Lyon’s game. However, still, not all of them decided to last long with Les Gones.
Some of Lyon’s mainstay players chose to move to other clubs, especially to top LaLiga clubs. Who are they?
1. Ferland Mendy
Ferland Mendy only defended Olympique Lyon for two seasons (2017–2019). At first glance, the time is quite short, but it was enough for him to be ogled by a club like Real Madrid.
During his uniform with Les Gones, Mendy was able to develop as one of the potential left-backs owned by France. He became the backbone of his team on the left side of the defense with a record 79 appearances.
His slick performance at that time attracted Real Madrid who were looking for Marcelo’s successor. Mendy finally really left for the Spanish capital club. He was redeemed by Real Madrid with a tag of 48 million euros
2. Samuel Umtiti
Olympique Lyon is Samuel Umtiti’s childhood club. Since a dozen years, he spent his career with Les Gones in the academy team. Several years passed until his name entered the main squad in the 2012/2013 season. Since his success, Lyon has always relied on Umtiti at the heart of defense.
Umtiti was so powerful by making 170 appearances in all competitions. After four seasons together, he was recruited by Barcelona. Umtiti was bought for 25 million euros. His move to Spain had gone well at the start of the season, but a prolonged injury forced Umtiti’s career to decline.
3. Nabil Fekir
Nabil Fekir has a long journey with Olympique Lyon. Status as an academy graduate signifies his great loyalty.
Especially since moving up to the main squad in 2013, he has lasted a long time with Lyon. It was at this point that Fekir enjoyed the peak of his career. During his six seasons wearing the Lyon jersey, Fekir managed to record 69 goals and 46 assists from 193 appearances.
Thanks to the impressive performance he made, Fekir was rumored to be joining Liverpool. However, the transfer failed to occur. Unexpectedly, he instead chose to move to Real Betis with a dowry of 19.75 million euros.
4. Mariano Diaz
Mariano Diaz is a product of the Real Madrid Castilla academy. He was promoted to the main squad in the 2016/2017 season, but struggled to get flying hours due to intense competition. Therefore, Los Blancos let him go to Olympique Lyon with a buyback option.
His move to France bore fruit. Mariano appeared slick on the front lines of Les Gones. From 48 appearances, he managed to pack 21 goals and six assists. Not surprisingly, Real Madrid returned to land him at the Santiago Bernabeu. At that time, Los Blancos had to pay 21.5 million euros
5. Memphis Depay
After slumping with Manchester United, Memphis Depay continued his journey to France. He joined Olympique Lyon to restore his best form again.
Sure enough, Memphis seemed to be reborn after performing brilliantly for 5.5 seasons in the Les Gones uniform. He was able to consistently fill his team’s attack post.
The Dutch player scored 76 goals and 55 assists while defending Lyon. After his contract expired, Memphis chose not to renew it. He joined Barcelona on a free transfer at the start of the 2021/2022 season.
After leaving Olympique Lyon, the five players above displayed their respective performances. Some are still consistent with being relied on by their clubs, but some have even declined, as experienced by Samuel Umtiti.