Lyon made two big signings in the forward line last summer to replace the departed Karim Benzema. One man was Bafetimbi Gomis from arch-rivals Saint-Etienne and the second one was Argentine Lisandro Lopez from Porto.
The two strikers with a combined fee of nearly €40m started off from a level playing field. Gomis, having been one of the most feared strikers in France, of course having a tad bit of an advantage, having experience from the league.
Lisandro’s arrival to France was a bit of a surprise. The Buenos Aires born would’ve not looked out of place at a bigger European club, having scored 44 goals for Porto in the last two seasons. But much like he’s close friend and Porto teammate Lucho Gonzalez, he opted to move to France. Lucho himself moved to Marseille just a couple of weeks earlier.
Lisandro and Gomis very much shared the playing time at the beginning of the league. Manager Claude Puel even willing to play the two together in certain games.
But as the season moved on, Lisandro was starting to get to nod ahead of Gomis. Not a surprise really, considering he scored on his debut and only needed three matches to get his first hat-trick at a new club. Gomis has still remained one of the players with the most appearances for the club, but most have been from the bench.
Lyon’s season is going to end trophy-less and there’s still doubt whether they can seal their place in next year’s Champions League, but the signing of Lisandro will at least console some of the personnel involved.
Last week it was announced that Lisandro is among the nominees for Ligue 1 Player of the Year. Having seen him work hard against Bayern even when everything was already lost and seeing his reaction to Michel Bastos’ important 1-0 winner away at Montpellier last weekend, followed by passionate celebrations after the match, you could give him the award just for effort.