Lyon thought it had smelled the right thing last summer. By recruiting Jérôme Boateng, free after the end of his contract with Bayern Munich, OL imagined that they had got their hands on the manager who was missing from their defense. A year later, the Gones have had plenty of time to become disillusioned. The 33-year-old German is no longer even considered a potential starter in the Rhone defense. And the idea of the Lyon management seems rather to separate from it than to consider the future with it.
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It is unlikely to see him on the field of Groupama Stadium against Troyes. Boateng did not take part in the training session on Thursday, the day before the match. Peter Bosz, OL coach, cited medical reasons to justify his absence. This does not necessarily change much for the Dutch technician. Facing Ajaccio on the 1st day, the former Bayern player had not set foot on the lawn, assistant on the bench for the victory of Les Gones to inaugurate the L1 season (2-1).
It was no surprise. Boateng had already had to settle for limited playing time in the second half of last season. There had been the emergence of the young Castello Lukeba who immediately established himself as the boss of the Lyon defense. And the repositioning of Thiago Mendes, defensive midfielder, at his side to form the Rhone hinge. Bosz had chosen to renew this duo to start the new season. Without this choice being really contestable.
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Boateng had managed some encouraging performances in the first half of last season. But he had also displayed an irregularity detrimental to the solidity of the Lyon defense. He notably missed his subject during the defeat to Monaco (2-0) in early February. The moment chosen by Bosz to change his tune and rely on the Lukeba-Mendes duo in central defense. Beyond his lack of performance, a few spats with his teammates (Léo Dubois, Rayan Cherki, Bruno Guimarães) had perhaps finished convincing Bosz to no longer rely on him. A hell of a snub for the 2014 world champion.
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Especially since he was coming out of a rather successful season in a club as demanding as Bayern just before joining Lyon. But he still approached the new exercise with optimism. “I am happy to finally be able to carry out a complete preparation, I feel very good, I am in good shape and very motivatedhe said at the end of July in the columns of Kicker. It’s a very different starting situation for me than last year. I feel in great shape and I know I can play at a high level. As long as you train well, it makes no difference whether you are 30 or 33 years old. I want to continue to compete against the best and I have a few good years ahead of me..”
But the Lyon leaders are not necessarily willing to give him the chance to prove it. The German weighs heavily in the club’s finances with an estimated salary of 350,000 euros per month, the highest of the Rhone workforce. Given the status of the player, who has become a luxury substitute, the idea of selling Boateng is far from meaningless. But the suitors do not seem to be scrambling to try to revive a player in freefall since he put his suitcases on the banks of the Rhône.
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