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Garde Again Faces Lyon Inquisition

Latest Lyon reverse increases speculation ....

MLS: Montreal Impact at New York City FC
Remi Garde, focused yesterday on the task at Yankee Stadium, continues to be linked with his former club, Olympique Lyonnais.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Olympique Lyonnais’ worst result of the season has again led to Remi Garde facing questions around his future.

Despite taking a first minute lead yesterday, Les Gones went down 1-3 at home to bottom club, Dijon (2 wins in previous 27 games). The visitors overturned Lyon’s advantage within 7 mins, scoring twice in a crazy opening to the game. When Rafael put through his own goal in the 65th min, Lyon’s fate was sealed, and perhaps also the future of 52 year-old coach Bruno Genesio.

This all came on the back of another home reverse a few nights previously when Stade Rennes came to town and won the Coupe de France semi-final 3-2.

Following the semi-final defeat, OL President, Jean-Michel Aulas went on record revealing that reaching the Coupe de France Final and finishing in the top three of Ligue 1 would have been enough to earn Genesio a new two-year contract. That extension now looks increasingly unlikely.

In a wide-ranging interview with L’Equipe published on Thursday, Aulas elaborated on the press conference held alongside Genesio following the Rennes defeat.

Asked if Genesio (whose contract expires in June) might stay should OL finish the league season like a cannonball, Aulas said: “It would be difficult but it is possible. I don’t know if Bruno would want to stay. I think when he woke up the morning after the Coupe de France loss he must have had a headache. I spoke to him for a long time after the game and twice on Wednesday.”

Impact fans will be happy to know that bigger names than Remi Garde have been linked with the Lyon job, should, as is likely, Genesio not remain at the helm, although Aulas has discounted the candidacy of Jose Mourinho, who recently declared an interest in managing in Ligue 1. Aulas, during his chat with L’Equipe, suggested, “The special one is not compatible with the club’s economy.”

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OL President, Jean-Michel Aulas:says Jose Mourinho is not compatible with his club’s economy.
Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Aulas (70) was a little more drawn on Laurent Blanc. “I don’t know what the ideal profile is. He has a good profile. We’re lucky at Lyon as you just have to look at the number of coaches who want to come and coach here, both French and foreign coaches.” Blanc has not worked since leaving PSG in 2016.

The name of Patrick Vieira has also been touted, and the French World Cup winner would see the Lyon position as a step up from his current gig on the Cote D’Azur with OGC Nice. Lyon may not consider his managerial experience sufficient however.

Lack of experience would not be a barrier to appointing Christopher Galtier, currently steering the ship at second-placed OSC Lille. The 52 year-old, former St-Etienne boss is another whose name appears amidst the speculation.

Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Might Laurent Blanc return to management with Lyonnais?
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Despite French media channel C News saying before the weekend that Remi Garde is under consideration, the Impact coach’s name does not yet feature as strongly as the others, but he remains the last OL coach to win a trophy. He left the club on good terms, is of course a former player, and would be viewed by some within the club as the man to restore former glories.

Garde being linked to the position is natural and perhaps inevitable, given his background and connections.

“I’ve spent so much time and so many years in that club that maybe people talk, but I’m just focused on what I have to do here, and I already spoke about that.”

When pointedly asked yesterday following the stalemate in the Bronx, if he’s been contacted by Lyon, Garde’s simple response was, “No,” although it’s difficult to imagine him saying anything else considering there’s someone currently in the job.

Garde’s posture on the issue at least has been consistent, also denying any contact with Lyon specifically on the managerial situation, a month ago. On that occasion the French coach said, “On my side, I deny all recent contacts with Lyon on the subject that was brought up. I have the feeling that this was a piece of information that was created from nothing.”

This story looks set to run. Speculation will undoubtedly continue until Lyon appoint a new coach. If an approach is made to Remi Garde, the Impact coach my find the lure of returning ‘home’ too much to resist .....