Lyon manager Bruno Genesio has confirmed that Rachid Ghezzal has been demoted to the reserves two days after the club rejected a bid from West Ham.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season with Les Gones in 2015-16, scoring eight goals and providing eight assists as Lyon finished a distant second behind runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.
Club president Jean-Michel Aulas claimed on Wednesday that Slaven Bilic’s side had a bid of £6.9million rejected for the Algerian international, whose contract expires next June, with Genesio confirming that Ghezzal would not feature in Lyon’s Ligue 1 curtain-raiser against Nancy on Sunday.
“Rachid Ghezzal will play with the CFA [reserve team] this weekend,” Genesio told a news conference on Friday.
Everton have also been heavily linked with a move for the versatile forward but Aulas believes Ghezzal wants to remain in France with just over two weeks of the transfer window remaining.
“We have received offers for him, including that of West Ham,” the president told L’Equipe earlier this week. “I know Rachid will not leave Lyon, so you have to find an agreement not to stay in a situation that is not good for either party.
“I love Rachid who, with Nabil Fekir, is one of the symbols of this Algerian community at Lyon. He wants me to talk with his advisers and I will call them this week to try and break the deadlock.”
Lyon have endured a turbulent pre-season with centre-back Samuel Umtiti leaving to join Barcelona and star striker Alexandre Lacazette relentlessly linked with a move to Arsenal.
However, Aulas has repeatedly made clear that the club will not sell the 25-year-old, who has scored 48 league goals in the last two seasons, for less than the club’s €50million asking price.