Maxime Gonalons' agent has claimed that his client had already agreed to join Napoli when Olympique Lyonnais pulled the plug on the proposed deal.
The France international looked set to move to the San Paolo this week after the Italian outfit lodged a 17 million euro bid for the midfielder, but Les Gones rejected the offer, much to the disgust of Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
However, Gonalons' representative, Frederic Guerra, freely admits that the Lyon skipper was keen to make the switch to Serie A, having already finalized personal terms with Napoli, and is refusing to rule out the possibility of the 24-year-old departing in the summer instead.
"Everything was OK [in terms of the contract]," the agent told RTL. "I was approached by Napoli last summer. They had offered 9 million euros for Maxime. They absolutely wanted the player, who had been followed by [Napoli coach Rafael] Benitez since scoring for Lyon against Liverpool in the Champions League. The offer climbed to 15 million euros and we found it very interesting. We agreed to the move and Maxime was happy to move to the Azzurri. He liked the project and everything was alright.
"The player would have been going to an ambitious team while also improving his salary. Napoli is third in the Italian championship and should, in principle, play in the Champions League next season, which doesn't seem to the case with Lyon (currently 10th in Ligue 1). So there was both a sporting project and a financial incentive. [Lyon] took the decision to retain Maxime. However, a future departure is not excluded."
However, Guerra insisted that there was no chance of Gonalons kicking up a fuss in an attempt to force through a transfer.
"There will be no tug-of-war with Lyon," he vowed. "Maxime knows the situation of the team and the club in which he grew up."
- Sports & Recreation