Monaco have confirmed their interest in Lyon youngster Willem Geubbels and hit out at the 16-year-old’s club for suggesting previous wrongdoing relating to the transfers of Rachid Ghezzal and Jordy Gaspar.
Geubbels is regarded as one of France’s most talented young players and has reportedly attracted interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs during his time at Lyon.
His contract expires at the end of next season and Lyon revealed on Thursday they have been told he will seek to join another club instead of signing professional terms with them.
In their statement, Lyon highlighted the lengths they have gone to during Geubbels’ development, giving him personalised education, progressive introduction to the first-team squad and “extremely important” contract proposals.
Lyon expressed their disappointment at Geubbels’ decision and then cited the transfers of Ghezzal and Gaspar to Monaco, naming their Ligue 1 rivals and saying they will “take all provisions to not be penalised economically again”.
Monaco have responded, acknowledging they do hold an interest in Geubbels and insisting they did nothing wrong in the two transfers mentioned.
Their statement read: “AS Monaco was astonished to read last night [Thursday]’s statement by Olympique Lyonnais.
“AS Monaco would first of all like to stress that the club always acts in accordance with the rules and respects the decisions of its players, even where that sometimes means allowing them to join rival clubs.
“Consequently, AS Monaco refuses to be held responsible for the departure of players trained at Olympique Lyonnais.
“AS Monaco signed a contract with Rachid Ghezzal in August 2017, whereas the player had been free to move since June of that year.
“With regards to Jordy Gaspar, who alone made the decision to reject the contract offer made by Olympique Lyonnais, AS Monaco wishes to point out that it did not make contact with the player until after 30 April 2017, in compliance with the rules laid down by the Professional Football Charter.
“Finally, AS Monaco can confirm the club’s interest in Willem Geubbels, and manifested that interest by making a direct and transparent approach to Olympique Lyonnais with a view to a possible transfer in the summer transfer window.
“With numerous young players opting to leave the French league to play abroad, AS Monaco believes it is important to keep a young France international in Ligue 1, despite the interest of big foreign clubs.
“In an increasingly competitive environment, AS Monaco fully assumes its training strategy and policy on recruiting young talent.”