Nabil Fekir’s failed transfer to Liverpool did not fall apart as a result of a medical issue, according to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, who insisted he ended negotiations after a "change of heart" by the Anfield outfit.
Fekir was expected to join Liverpool prior to the World Cup but the move fell apart at the last moments with reports of a knee problem during the medical potentially scuppering the deal.
The playmaker went on to win a World Cup with France in Russia and then returned to Lyon, where he has scored four goals and added four assists across Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season.
Aulas has delivered his own take on the events of the summer, suggesting that the tight deadline of the World Cup affected the talks between the two clubs and Fekir.
However, Aulas claimed it was Lyon that ultimately ended talks after a Liverpool “change of heart”, and that Fekir was fine with that decision.
“At the final moment, the three parties did not find an agreement, but not just Liverpool and Lyon, who had had an agreement,” Aulas told RMC Sport’s Breaking Sport.
“There was a change of heart from Liverpool’s point of view, as we were in a tight situation in that Nabil was about to go to the World Cup, we decided to finish [talks].
“Nabil at the time was OK with all of that.”
Aulas also downplayed any talk of injury concerns ruining the deal, suggesting it was an excuse rather than the actual cause.
“I think it was one of the arguments that was used on the Liverpool side, but personally I do not think it was the real reason.”
Fekir’s current contract with Lyon expires in 2020, leaving the club in an increasingly difficult position if they want to keep his services long-term.
The midfielder has reportedly drawn interest from numerous sides in Europe, with his international team-mate Kingsley Coman hoping Fekir will make a move to Bayern Munich in the future.
Aulas however, is talking about an extension for Fekir, and claims a January exit is unlikely, especially if Lyon secure a result against Shakhtar Donetsk and advance to the Champions League knockout round.
"An extension of contract in Fekir? Yes it is underway, it is on my desk and we will ensure that it can be seen soon,” Aulas said. “A departure this winter for Fekir? I do not think he wants to do it.
“So from the moment that OL can qualify in the Champions League, I do not imagine that Nabil can leave.
“If he wishes, we will meet others again, but I do not imagine he will be leaving this winter."