C'est la vie

9 world-class players Lyon have sold in recent years

For years Europe's top clubs have looked to Lyon when in need of a potential world-beater

For over a decade now the rest of Europe have had great success in mining Lyon’s talent reserves.

With speculation that Alexandre Lacazette may depart for as much as £50million this summer, it seems this trend is far from old-fashioned.

Here we look at nine of their previous exports who went on to rub shoulders with the world’s very best.

1 Michael Essien to Chelsea for £32.3m

That goal against Arsenal though…

We’ll start in 2005 with Lyon’s first £15m+ sale.

Essien went on to establish himself as one of the most dynamic midfielders in the Premier League as he hoarded trophies next to Frank Lampard in Chelsea’s midfield.

Lyon’s best player between 2003 – 2005, alongside free-kick master Juninho Pernambucano of course.

2 Mahamadou Diarra to Real Madrid for £22.1m


What saw is what you got with Diarra.

And what you saw was a mobile 6ft Malian athlete who could bully any playmaker off the ball with a shrug of his shoulders.

His discipline was crucial to Madrid’s back-to-back title wins in 06/07 and 07/08.

This wouldn’t be the last time Florentino Perez would come calling with chequebook in hand.

3 Eric Abidal to Barcelona for £12.75m

He’s won more trophies than you pretended to win in your most optimistic fantasies

Between Lyon and Barcelona he won the league six times in eight seasons.

Add in 14 other trophies in that time and you’ve got yourself a man accustomed to life as a winner.

Famously recovered from liver cancer to help Barca win the Champions League in 2011.

4 Florent Malouda to Chelsea for £16.15m

Vastly underrated

The French winger joined up with old pal Didier Drogba in 2005; the pair had been team-mates at Guingamp for one season in 2002/03.

It took two years for Malouda to acclimatise to life in the Premier League but when he did the goals came with ease.

25 league goals split between two league seasons in the middle of his Chelsea career more than justified his price tag.

He was actually the Blues’ top scorer in the league in 2010/11.

5 Hatem Ben Arfa to Marseille for £10.2m

World-class on his day, it just isn’t his day that often

The mercurial talent is unplayable at his best.

Unfortunately he’s been reluctant to shift into top gear throughout his career.

Capable of ghosting past defenders at ease, his raw talent was obvious at Lyon but pointing him in the right direction appeared an impossible task.

6 Karim Benzema to Real Madrid for £29.75m

Simply one of the best forwards in Europe over the last decade

Probably the most high-profile departure in Lyon’s history.

Benzema became a Galactico in 2009 and has scored 20+ goals in all but one of his seven full season for Los Blancos to date.

Playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo means he is often nudged away from the spotlight but he’s as close to a perfect No9 as modern football offers.

The less said about his involvement with the national side the better.

7 Miralem Pjanic to Roma for £9.35m

Serie A’s new assist king

The Bosnian playmaker has developed into one of the best passers in the world since moving to Italy.

He was Serie A’s top assist provider in his last two seasons with Roma.

Even in his early days as Lyon’s metronome it was obvious he was most comfortable in life with a ball at his feet.

Expect him to get even better in the next couple of years under the Old Lady’s guidance.

8 Hugo Lloris to Spurs for £10.71m

Coolness personified

France’s No1 and the most composed keeper in Europe.

Lloris’ silent authority has led to Spurs boasting the best defence in the Premier League.

The unflappable gentleman was named Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year three times in six season for Lyon.

A class act.

9 Samuel Umtiti to Barcelona for £21.5m

This is what centre-backs are supposed to look like in 2017

Umtiti’s performances in the Champions League this season proves the 23-year-old has what it takes to occupy the centre of Barcelona’s defence for years to come.

Quick, powerful and comfortable in possession, he has everything a modern defender needs to succeed.

Lyon fans selected him as their Player of the Year in 2015/16 ahead of 23-goal hero Lacazette.

“That’s how far ahead of me you are”

If that list isn’t enough for you here’s some more players Lyon have sold in recent times: Clinton N’Jie, Dejan Lovren, Loic Remy, Tiago and Anthony Martial!

Now’s the time to send an email to your club to make sure they’ve got scouts living inside the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.