Exclusive: Lyon President Aulas: We Want To Build Around Karim Benzema

Jean-Michel Aulas has indicated that Olympique Lyonnais will be seeking strikers this summer, though star-man Benzema is expected to stay.
Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas has confirmed the club’s intention to bolster their attacking options next season; however, he has indicated that it is his desire to keep hold of star man Karim Benzema, who has been linked to numerous European heavyweights in the recent past.

When quizzed by Goal.com about Lyon’s intentions for the transfer window, Aulas revealed that forwards will be sought by the Rhone Valley club. “For the moment, we want to recruit mainly in attack,” he affirmed, before going on to state that this does not necessarily mean that Benzema will leave the club.

“Karim has long expressed his desire to remain with Olympique Lyonnais. The club wants him to stay and restructure around him. Now it’s true that the transfer market is very surprising and the news from Real [Madrid], Chelsea and Manchester United makes me very perplexed. No-one is intransferable, but knowing Karim, if he did leave, it would be to Real Madrid.

“For the moment, we are not talking about transferring Karim.”

Aulas then talked of players who could arrive at the Stade Gerland, describing Real Madrid’s Royston Drenthe and Arjen Robben as “interesting” players. In addition, he confirmed that moves are being made with regard to Porto’s Lisandro Lopez, who is reportedly close to signing for les Gones.

“We have been in contact with his agents and he is a player we like. We are in a relationship, that’s true, but nothing is finalised,” he said.

Inter’s Patrick Vieira is also on OL’s radar and was described by Aulas as “a great player”, the president affirming that contact had been made with the France captain, although the Lyon boss warned that nothing is “concrete” in that regard.

On the subject of Inter, Aulas rejected speculation regarding a possible move to Milan for midfield creator Ederson, who has been the subject of a significant amount of speculation of late.

Robin Bairner, Goal.com