Transfer talk distracts Friday foes

Transfer talk distracts Friday foes

Published Aug. 24, 2012 3:15 a.m. ET

While Lyon have won their opening two games and top the table on goal difference, Evian are one of six teams still searching for their first point.

But both teams have had to contend with wantaway players this week, with Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier denied a move to Nice by team-mate Yoann Gourcuff's injury and Evian doubting the reason for Saber Khelifa's absence from the club.

The Tunisian forward was granted leave to deal with a family issue, but club president Patrick Trotignon fears he has used his trip home to try to set up a move to Club Africain, managed by former Evian boss Bernard Casoni.

Trotignon told Radio Monte Carlo: "I don't know if (the family issue) is true or not. He tells us he is bored here and his agent tells us he has approached Club Africain.


"If he has not returned by the end of the week, we will open (disciplinary) proceedings."

Grenier, meanwhile, was blocked from rejoining former Lyon coach Claude Puel at Nice after Gourcuff was ruled out for six weeks with a knee ligament injury.

He was scheduled to replace the France international in Annecy but was absent from a second squad list released on Thursday, with illness the reason given.

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren, though, is available for the first time since suffering a serious foot injury in April's Coupe de France final.

He told L'Equipe: "I am not yet at 100% but I started training with the team a week ago and it has gone well. We will see whether I play against Evian."

Midfielder Maxime Gonalons has cautioned against complacency, warning: "It is only the start of the season and anything is possible.

"Evian have experience from last season so it will be a difficult match and we have to take it seriously."

Correa is upbeat even though a meeting with the early pace-setters is not, on paper, an ideal chance to kick-start their season.

"It's always good to face teams like this," he said. "In our situation, it gives us more motivation to know we are up against the leaders.

"I've seen their games on video. I didn't discover anything new. There is quality in their squad and they are gaining maturity compared to last year."