Nabil Fekir

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Lyon’s Nabil Fekir completes bargain transfer to Real Betis

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One year ago, Lyon forward Nabil Fekir was reportedly on the brink of a move to Liverpool from somewhere in the vicinity of $65 million. Now, he’s gone for around a third of that price.

Fekir has reportedly completed a transfer to Spanish side Real Betis for a reported $22 million plus add-ons, proving just how far a contract dispute and bad knee can torpedo a player’s value on the open market.

The 26-year-old came incredibly close to a switch to Anfield last summer worth somewhere in the vicinity of $65, with his now ex-agent stating that Fekir had even completed photos in a Liverpool jersey and passed a medical. Yet he never completed the transfer, as the Reds pulled out of the deal at the last minute for unknown reasons, thought to be potentially related to lingering effects from an ACL tear suffered early in the 2015/16 season.

Now, with one year left on his Lyon contract and a refusal to sign a new deal, the French club had no choice but to find a suitor, leaving Real Betis in a solid negotiating position and Lyon in no position to haggle.

The reports state Fekir’s cut-rate deal does come with a bit of a bright side for Lyon, as the add-ons are reportedly significant – up to $12 million worth – and the Ligue 1 side maintains a sell-on clause of around 20% should Fekir be moved by Betis. Still, the loss in value is significant from one summer to the next.

A dip in form could also be a contributing factor in the drop in value. While it’s not like the French international put up bad numbers last season – nine goals and seven assists to his name in 29 Ligue 1 appearances – it represented a serious step back from the 18 goals he racked up two seasons ago before piquing Liverpool’s interest.

For Betis, Fekir’s arrival represents an important replacement for Giovani Lo Celso who is rumored to be on his way out, with interest from Tottenham.

Lyon exec claims club working on Fekir extension

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Olympique Lyonnais’ outspoken club president Jean-Michel Aulas has gone on record to claim the club has “made some advances” with regards to a contract extension for attacker Nabil Fekir.

The 25-year-old has been a favorite of Premier League transfer rumors for a good two years now, but Aulas says they are working hard to keep the Lyon captain at his hometown club.

“We have made some advances in Fekir’s contract extension,” Aulas said according to The Mirror . “We are discussing it and soon I’ll have to see Nabil, we aren’t in the final stages but in any case we have advanced.”

Fekir scored 18 goals last season in Ligue 1 play, prompting heavy rumors of a move to England, with Liverpool the most widely reported destination. Things are never easy with Aulas, however, and a deal was never completed. Fekir started this season slowly, prompting many fans to claim he was a one-hit-wonder, but he has picked up the goalscoring pace of late, with six goals in his last nine matches, including the winner in Friday’s 2-1 victory over Guingamp.

He also has three goals in five Champions League appearances this season, and a big test upcoming as Lyon matches up with Barcelona in the Round of 16 next week. A surprise win in that two-legged affair would boost Lyon’s chances of retaining Fekir tremendously as it could convince him the club is on its way up. They currently sit third with PSG still dominating the league by a mile.

Still, it’s also highly possible that Aulas is exaggerating the club’s efforts to re-sign Fekir to put pressure on others who may look to pry him away this summer. A possible extension in the works could force clubs to pony up extra cash in the hopes of persuading him to turn Lyon down. Chelsea has been linked to Fekir this offseason with rumors of Eden Hazard‘s exit, and Liverpool’s chase last summer will likely attach them to his name this coming window as well.

Report: Chelsea linked with moves for Higuain, Fekir

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Chelsea have been linked with January moves for Gonzalo Higuain and Nabil Fekir.

Higuain, 31, is currently on loan at AC Milan from Juventus but it is believed that Chelsea wanted to bring him on loan to Stamford Bridge and then loan out Alvaro Morata to Milan.

A report from the Daily Telegraph states that talks have been held, but that a loan swap for Higuain-Morata may be tough considering the current Financial Fair Play regulations surrounding Milan.

Given all of this, Morata’s future at Chelsea appears to be almost non-existent.

The Spaniard has looked devoid of confidence in recent weeks and Maurizio Sarri has preferred to play Eden Hazard in a false nine rather than start with either Morata or Olivier Giroud up top. When it comes to Higuain, he played for Sarri at Napoli in 2015-16 and enjoyed his best-ever goalscoring season with 36 in 35 Serie A games. He may not be everyones cup of tea and is certainly an old-fashioned number nine, but in the right system Higuain can be deadly.

As for Fekir, the Lyon and France playmaker almost joined Liverpool in the summer but the move was called off at the last minute with many stating it was due to the Frenchman failing a medical.

Fekir, 25, remained at Lyon but it is believed he wants a move to the Premier League and with just over 18 months left on his contract Chelsea will pay a lot less than the $60 million Liverpool agreed for the playmaker this summer.

With his class on the ball and ability from set piece situations, having Fekir alongside N'Golo Kante and ahead of Jorginho in midfield would work well. That said, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley are all around at Chelsea but Fekir is more attacking than those three and it could point to him being worked into the forward rotation with Hazard, Pedro and Willian.

As reports about Chelsea trying to sign Christian Pulisic continue, Sarri is clearly working on improving his attacking options in the second half of the season and beyond. The Blues are the fourth highest scorers in the league and only Liverpool and Man City have conceded fewer goals than them. Relying on Hazard for goals and assists each week has worked so far, but Sarri knows the Belgian wizard needs help.

Champions League wrap: Insanity between Bayern, Ajax; Lyon advances

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Most of the knockout rounds spots were decided before a ball was kicked on Wednesday, but it was another wild day of UEFA Champions League play across Europe.

[ MORE: Who can PL clubs draw in UCL? ]

That includes Thomas Muller’s terrible red card and a number of beautiful goals — Hi, Nabil Fekir — as the group stage concluded with eight matches.


Benfica 1-0 AEK Athens

Grimaldo’s 88th minute goal kept AEK from getting its first point of the group stage.

Ajax 3-3 Bayern Munich

There was one goal in the first hour, and five in the final 30 minutes, as the winner of Group E changed several times on the night.

Robert Lewandowski’s 13th minute goal gave Bayern a halftime lead, but Dusan Tadic scored in the 61st and 82nd minutes to put Ajax atop the group… for five minutes.

Lewandowski completed his brace to restore the tie and Bayern’s lead, then Kingsley Coman made it academic in the 90th.

The game being what it was, with both teams finishing with 10 men thanks to Thomas Muller and Max Wober being sent off, Nicolas Tagliafico gave Ajax a point with an equalizer in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Muller, WYD?


Man City 2-1 HoffenheimRECAP

Aymeric Laporte conceded an early penalty, but Leroy Sane was electric all night long in producing a brace en route to a 2-1 win and the group crown.

Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Lyon

Junior Moraes’ 22nd minute goal looked set to send the Ukranian side into the knockout rounds, but it’ll instead be headed for the Europa League thanks to Nabil Fekir’s wonderful 65th minute goal.


Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA MoscowRECAP

Georgi Schennikov, Arnor Sigurdsson, and Fedor Chalov all scored as Real Madrid’s second choice side suffered its worst home loss in UCL history.

Viktoria Plzen 2-1 AS Roma

Jan Kovarik and Tomas Chory scored for the home victors in the 62nd and 72nd minutes as the match’s three goals all came in 10-minute span, as Viktoria Plzen prepares for the drop into Europa League. Roma’s Cenzig Under scored his third goal of the group stage and second against Viktoria Plzen.


Valencia 2-1 Manchester United — RECAP

Phil Jones‘ disastrous own goal was the difference as Valencia built a two-goal lead and held on to beat United despite Marcus Rashford‘s late pullback.

Young Boys 2-1 Juventus

Two goals for 34-year-old forward Guillaume Hoarau paced the Swiss side to a feel-good upset of Juve. Paolo Dybala scored for the visitors.

Man City slumps to home loss vs. Lyon

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  • Cornet, Fekir score
  • City sloppy in midfield
  • Sane-inspired comeback bid falls short

Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir scored first half goals as Lyon stunned Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

Leroy Sane set up Bernardo Silva to pull a goal back for Man City, but the second did not arrive for the hosts.

Man City is off to Hoffenheim next on Oct. 2, when Lyon will host Shakhtar Donetsk.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

City had a lot of the ball, but a giveaway at midfield helped Lyon go on top.

Kyle Walker didn’t close down his mark on the left, Ederson was slow in acting on the cross, and Fabian Delph made a laughable mess of defending it.

The ball fell to Cornet, who left little doubt with a drive inside the far post.

City was denied an Ilkay Gundogan equalizer when assist man Raheem Sterling was inches offside.

And the hosts took a 2-0 deficit to the locker room with more poor midfield play, with Fekir blasting a Fernandinho giveaway past Ederson.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Anthony Lopes made a fine stop on Gundogan as City pushed to get back into the game.

Mikel Arteta opted for Leroy Sane off the bench as suspended manager Pep Guardiola watched from the stands.

A counter attack nearly saw the score line balloon to 3-0, but Memphis Depay‘s clever bid was touched by Ederson before hitting the post and bounding in front of the line.

Sane was the provider on City’s strike back into the contest, as he cut back for Bernardo to finish.

Riyad Mahrez sent a cross into the box that Sane couldn’t turn on goal, and it remained 2-1 as the 84th minute began in Manchester.

Ederson had another timely intervention on Memphis in the 89th minute to keep City alive.

Sergio Aguero tried to put the game on his back in the 90th, but his shot was touched out for a corner.