Dejan Lovren returns to Olympique Lyon after almost ten years. Even the press release of the stumbling Ligue 1 club does not bode well for Jerome Boateng.
Jerome Boateng’s future at Olympique Lyon is more open than ever. Rumors had recently been circulating that the 2014 World Cup winner could be released as early as January – and now OL has signed another experienced center-back.
Dejan Lovren returns to the club where he gained his first Champions League experience between 2010 and 2013 with a two-and-a-half-year contract until 2025. The regular of the Croatian national team, who played all minutes at the World Cup apart from the match for third place, leave Zenit St. Petersburg after two and a half years. Lovren remained in the country after the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and played regularly before the World Cup.
Lovren: “Now I want to prove to everyone what kind of player I am”.
“I am very happy to return to Olympique Lyon,” the 33-year-old was quoted as saying in the club’s statement on Monday. “This club opened the door to international football for me, I will never forget that. I have a lot of memories here and also a lot of connections, especially with president Jean Michael Aulas, who has always supported me. I left Lyon in 2013 with regrets because I felt I hadn’t shown everything. I now want to prove to everyone what kind of player I am.”
Lovren, a French Cup and Super Cup winner with OL in 2012, had moved on from Lyon to join Southampton FC in England in 2013 and was snapped up by Liverpool FC just a year later – before Jürgen Klopp’s arrival. There, crowned by the Champions League title in 2019 and the championship in 2020, he spent six largely very successful years, even if he no longer played a leading role in the end.
Blanc had wanted more experience – despite Boateng
Lyon, currently only a disappointing eighth in the table, as they were at the end of pre-season, is sure, by their admission, that with Lovren they will get “all the experience” that “Laurent Blanc had wished for in the defensive area”. This a sentence that does not necessarily bode well for Boateng, after all, the 34-year-old, who has been playing at Lyon since the summer of 2021, is already offering his coach just that.
At Christmas, Boateng had affirmed that he knew nothing about a possible departure. “Nobody from the club has spoken to me or my adviser about it,” nor had he held talks with any club. “My focus was 100 percent on getting fit again quickly.”
Boateng had undergone meniscus surgery shortly before the World Cup. “Since Laurent Blanc has been our coach, things have been going very well for me personally. Before the injury I was always playing,” said the top earner. “The coach’s confidence and opinion are important to me, everything else is not relevant.”