Corentin Tolisso 22 Midfielder Olympique Lyonnais France
Olympique Lyonnais’ famous decision to focus on youth and promoting from within their youth academy instead of spending all of their money on expensive international imports is starting to pay huge dividends for the club. At things stand, they have a squad full of exciting, young players that will stand them in good stead for a few years to come – through both generating transfer fees for reinvestment but also actually being a competitive football team.
Along with Alexandre Lacazette, Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir to name but three, Lyon fans must be rubbing their hands together about having a player like Corentin Tolisso in their ranks.
The Frenchman can become whatever sort of midfielder that he wants to be; so long as he can convince his manager that he isn’t a jack of all trades to be shoved into whatever hole needs filling. In the final few weeks of last season he did get a run in midfield but he has had to battle against James Milner/Phil Neville syndrome to earn that.
Tolisso is an excellent all-rounder. He’s tactically astute, technically proficient, disciplined, a strong runner and an energetic box-to-box player. With those attributes it’s understandable that he has been used in both full-back positions before as well as various others around the pitch – even if that is frustrating for the player.
2016 has been…
The last 12 months have been important for Corentin. He has matured as a person and that has seen his standing at Lyon improve greatly. He’s filled in as captain when the regulars aren’t around and it’s clear to see he has become a leader within the squad.
That has manifested itself into some excellent performances for the team. As Lyon marched up the table in 2016 to eventually finish second, Tolisso was one of the stars of the run. He chipped with three goals in the space of a month between January and February when the first team were scrambling around for fit players.
The forced consistency of selection actually helped them and a few of the players came through the season as much better players.
Napoli and a €37.5 million offer very nearly took Corentin to Serie A during the summer. In an interview with France Football, the player confirmed that he had spoken to Napoli but made a sporting choice to stay in Ligue 1 rather than move to Italy for more money.
For now he has made a very public declaration that he is prioritising personal development over financial reward. That will only last so long and where Napoli failed to convince him, a richer club with more impressive resources thanks to their various international television deals will be able to make a stronger argument.
Tolisso’s future lies away from Lyon; that much is clear. He’d probably quite like to hang around for longer but within 18 months we expect he’ll have moved on. On the plus side for the club and the fans, we get the feeling he’ll be open and honest about when he decides it’s over.
C Though the good parts were really good, the bits in-between weren’t solid enough
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