Lyon sporting director Juninho conceded Memphis Depay is in a strong position as Barcelona chase the star captain, while he said the Ligue 1 outfit are dreaming of Karim Benzema’s return.
Depay is a target for embattled LaLiga giants Barca following the appointment of former Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman, while Serie A team Roma have also been linked.
The 26-year-old former Manchester United forward, who opened the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season with a hat-trick last month, is out of contract in 2021.
Juninho discussed Depay’s future at Groupama Stadium amid Barca’s pursuit, telling RMC Sport: “We haven’t received an official offer from Barca.
“Memphis, before his serious injury, received an offer from the president [Jean-Michel] Aulas to extend his contract, but he wanted to take his time.
“When a young player aged 26 has one year left on their contract and Barca are following him… Memphis is in a strong position.”
Netherlands international Depay scored 15 goals in 22 games for Lyon last season despite suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in December, as the French side reached the Champions League semi-finals.
“If an offer arrives, we will have to think about it,” Juninho said. “We could keep him for another year as captain and lose him for free next year. The president could make an effort to extend [his deal], but I think it will be difficult.
“Memphis didn’t ask anything from us before going with the national team. He told me he hadn’t received any call from Barca.”
Juninho, meanwhile, expressed his desire for Real Madrid’s Benzema to re-join boyhood club Lyon.
Benzema emerged from Lyon’s youth system in 2004, going on to win four Ligue 1 titles among other honours before moving to Madrid in 2009.
The 32-year-old has enjoyed great success at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he has claimed three LaLiga trophies and four Champions League titles as part of his silverware haul of 18.
Benzema is contracted to Madrid until 2022 but Juninho – who played alongside the Frenchman at Lyon – said: “It is our dream for Karim to finish up with us.
“It is the dream of everyone [at OL] to bring him back for two seasons, to play in the Champions League with us, be a leader, score goals, bring us his experience and help us to win matches.”
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