Vol. 5 Num 785 Fri. August 11, 2006  

Lyon launch Ribery bid

French giants Lyon have made a 22 million euro bid for Marseille's unsettled international midfielder Franck Ribery, the five-time champions disclosed Wednesday.

Ribery has repeatedly expressed his desire to quit Marseille, with Lyon heading the list of clubs interested in acquiring the 23-year-old World Cup star's talents.

And a source at Lyon confirmed to AFP: "We have indeed made Marseille an offer of 22 million euros for the transfer of Ribery."

Marseille, desperate to keep hold of the player touted as the next Zinedine Zidane, denied having received Lyon's offer and reacted angrily to the news.

Club president Pape Diouf, speaking in Switzerland on the eve of his side's UEFA Cup preliminary round tie against Young Boys Berne, said: "This comes the day before an important game for us, and is part of what we consider a concerted destabilising manoeuvre by Lyon and their president.

"They can go about this as they want but for us it doesn't change our position nor our determination one bit.

"This simply shows that they've got their backs to the wall."

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has been a long time admirer of Ribery and earlier this year welcomed reports that the impish winger nicknamed 'Scarface' was agitating for a move to the Stade Gerland.

"We're always on the lookout for good players," Aulas said. "Ribery and his agent want to leave Marseille and come to Lyon. We should confirm it soon."

He reiterated that Ribery was their number one target as recently as ten days ago after Lyon's win over Paris Saint Germain in the Champions Trophy.

A stumbling block to any move involving Ribery has been the new contract that he signed in March that was meant to keep him at Marseille until 2010.

Marseille boss Diouf has insisted that the club intends to hold on to Ribery for at least one more season.

Meanwhile reports from Rome suggest Juventus' Mauro Camoranesi could also be moving to the Stade Gerland.

Sergio Fortunato, the Italy international's agent, says his client is keen to quit Juventus, relegated to the second division for their part in the Serie A match-fixing scandal.

"Mauro is almost 30, he's always fought throughout his life and it's not right that he should have to pay for the sins that he didn't commit by playing in the second division," Fortunato told the ANSA news agency.

According to Fortunato talks have already taken place with Lyon prepared to bid five million euros for the midfielder.