By Kevin Mapasure
French football giants Lyon are set to ease off competition for Warriors striker Tino Kadewere who signed for the club in the January transfer window, with top striker Mousa Dembele expected to be sold in the next transfer season.
Lyon failed to make it to the European competitions for next season after the French Ligue 1 was cancelled, leaving the giants sitting on position seven on the league table.
The club has been trying to coerce the authorities to rescind the decision to cancel the season but without any joy.
PSG have already been confirmed champions while Marseille and Rennes have claimed the other two Champions League spots.
Lille will play in the Europa League.
Having been shut out of the lucrative European competitions Lyon have admitted that it may be difficult to hold on to some of their prized assets.
According to Britain’s Daily Mail, club president Jean-Michel Aulas admitted that some of the stars at the team might leave in search of Champions League or Europa League football.
“I am going to do everything to keep the players,” the Lyon chief told French outlet Le Progres.
“But players who are programmed to play in Europe could want to go elsewhere because we don’t have European football.”
Manchester United and Chelsea are both reported to be keen on the club’s top goalscorer, Dembele, whose departure would certainly give Kadewere a better chance of being the team’s main striker.
Dembele has been the team’s main man in attack where he scored 23 goals in all competitions so far.
Lyon are still in the Uefa Champions League where they are yet to play the second leg of their knock-out round against Juventus.
The French side won the first leg 1-0 and their second leg was shelved following the coronavirus outbreak in both France and Italy.
They are expected to conclude the tie in August where Uefa have targeted to restart and conclude the competition.
While it has been a blow for Kadewere that he will not be involved in European football next season, it may come as a blessing in disguise for the former Harare City attacker with some of the top stars at the club set to leave.
Kadewere attracted Lyon’s attention following a brilliant start to his career in France where he played for second tier club Le Harve where he finished as the league’s top goalscorer, hitting the back of the net on 20 occasions.
Following his flying start, Lyon parted with US$16,6 million to tie down the player on a four-and-half-year contract.
He was immediately loaned back to Le Harve until the end of the season and will start pre-season at his new club.
Chelsea tried and failed to sign Dembele in January and with Lyon having failed to make it into Europe, they will be encouraged to try again.
Another attacker Houssem Aouar is also set to be put up for sale by Lyon for a reported £43m amid interest from Manchester City.
Even if Dembele leaves, Kadewere will still expect to be in superstar company in the attack where former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay is expected to stay on at the club.
The 24-year-old striker, who has been capped 15 times by Zimbabwe, will face competition from among others Cameroon international Karl Toko Ekambi who made five starts for the club after moving from Spain’s Villareal.
Ivory Coast’s Gnaly Cornet will also be pushing for a place in the team as will Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore.
It will be a whole new experience for Kadewere turning out for a club as big as Lyon who attract crowds as large as 59 000 at their Groupama Stadium. News Day