Olympique Lyon are not far removed from the time when they were the kings of Ligue 1. Their run of seven consecutive league titles will be a hard feat for any team to replicate.
The basis of the title winning squads was an impressive youth system coupled by smart economical additions in the transfer market.
The amount of talent cultivated by Lyon during those years makes a very impressive list. Players like Essien, Abidal, and Malouda are among the recognized talents that made the Lyon train roll.
Along the way the Lyon blueprint for success transformed. Money began to be splashed out in larger amounts on players as the club's ambition turned from domestic success towards success in Europe.
Along with the change in spending habits, the youth development plan seemed to lose some focus.
Over the last five years, these changes saw a rise in debt. The financial concerns along with a drop in the level of play forced Lyon's management to make a change.
A renewed focus in the youth system is beginning to pay dividends as young promising talents like Maxime Gonalons and Alexandre Lacazette have began to replace the more expensive veterans who were sold this summer. With a large number of young players making an impact at Lyon, rumors about the large salaries of players like Yoann Gourcuff and where they may be sold to are swirling.
Lyon has also struck gold with bringing back Steed Malbranque. The midfielder has been in fine form this season after seemingly disappearing from sight with Saint-Etienne last season. Returning to his the familiar surroundings of his first club seems to have resurrected his play.
It is these type of moves coupled with the impressive youth and experienced talent that has Lyon sitting at the top of Ligue 1.
With only six points separating the top eight in Ligue 1, this is no time to begin planning the parade route. Still Lyon have to be happy with where they are, and how they have played. The return to a familiar plan may have put Lyon back on track.
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