- Premier League
Gourcuff will take pay cut to join Arsenal
Yoann Gourcuff is ready to lower his sizeable salary to secure a move to Arsenal, according to the Lyon playmaker's club president Jean-Michel Aulas.
Gourcuff, 27, has failed to deliver on the promise that persuaded Lyon to pay €22 million (£19m) for him in 2010 and offer him a monthly wage of more than €400,000 (£350,000), making the midfielder Ligue 1's highest-paid Frenchman. With his performances as disappointing as his wages are high, OL have been looking to offload the French international, whose situation has been monitored by Arsene Wenger.
Responding to Monday's reports in L'Equipe to the contrary, Aulas told France's premier sports daily OL would not be willing to pay any of Gourcuff's salary to allow him to join a Ligue 1 club on loan, and revealed the former Bordeaux man was only willing to make financial sacrifices to go to north London.
"Can you see us paying part of his salary for him to play against us with another French club? We've never considered that and it would even more stupid now than it was a fortnight ago," Aulas stated after seeing Gourcuff contribute a goal and two assists in Lyon's 4-0 win over Nice last weekend, their first game of the Ligue 1 season.
"All that I know, if I understood correctly, is that he was ready to lower his salary to go to Arsenal, but that's not the same thing."
Also followed by Monaco and Atletico Madrid, who have long been linked with him, Gourcuff has another two years left on the deal he signed when he moved to the Stade de Gerland from Bordeaux three years ago.
Though he remains open to the possibility of selling the former AC Milan man, stating on his official Twitter account last weekend that Gourcuff "is not for sale, but he can be bought", and added that he had told the player's lawyer he would grant a non-exclusive mandate to negotiate a transfer, Aulas has not ruled out extending the massive deal he agreed to.
"We can't change the contract. The only solution is to extend it. If the amortisation is done over eight years when it was planned over five, it becomes less expensive. But we're in a quite unfair system: if there's someone to criticise for his salary, it's me. I signed it, that contract, with his agent."