Lyon brings back midfielder Tolisso after Bayern stint ends

PARIS (AP) — Lyon brought France midfielder Corentin Tolisso back to the club on a five-year contract Friday.

The 27-year-old France international was out of contract with Bayern Munich, the club he joined from Lyon for 41.5 million euros ($43.4 million) in 2017.

“Lyon is my city, it’s where I grew up and where I feel good,” Tolisso said Friday. “It’s an immense pleasure and I felt an enormous amount of love from the fans.”

Meanwhile, French Cup winner Nantes brought in versatile and experienced midfielder Moussa Sissoko from Watford on a two-year deal.

Sissoko has 71 caps for France and made nearly 200 Premier League appearances for Newcastle, Tottenham and Watford, which was relegated to the second-tier last season after one season back in the top flight.

Tolisso won five Bundesliga titles, to add to the Champions League and the Club World Cup in 2020, scoring 21 goals in 118 appearances and impressing at times with his wide range of perceptive passing and crisp tackling.

Tolisso would have played more games for Bayern but, soon after winning the World Cup with France in 2018, he ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee early into the 2018-19 season.

Tolisso is a homegrown player and one of many local talents formed at Lyon’s youth academy. It is one of the best in Europe and has also produced France and Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti, standout Real Betis attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir and former Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette.

Tolisso scored 29 goals in 160 games in his four previous seasons with Lyon, and is reunited with his former teammate Lacazette after he left Arsenal last month.

Lacazette helped to convince him to return.

“I spoke a lot with Alex, to tell you the truth I think he wrote to me as much in the last month as in the past five years,” Tolisso joked. “Alex played a big part, he’s a real friend for me away from soccer. The fact he’s here was a bonus.”

Lyon has not won the French title since the last of its seventh straight successes in 2008 and has fallen way behind Paris Saint-Germain, finishing eighth in the season and 25 points behind a team with superstar forwards Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.

But American investor John Textor became the main shareholder last month and immediately targeted the dominance of Qatar-funded PSG.

“I’m very happy to come back and invest in the club’s new project,” said Tolisso, who has 28 caps for France and hopes to earn a place in the World Cup squad later this year.

Lyon also kept Brazilian forward Tete, who extended his loan deal from Shakhtar Donetsk for one year Friday. He joined from the Ukrainian side late last season following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Governing body FIFA introduced temporary rules allowing Ukraine-based soccer players to sign with clubs in other countries outside the normal transfer window periods because of the war back home.

The 22-year-old Tete, who played for Brazil at the Olympics last year, made a good impression in 11 league games with Lyon last season. He scored three minutes into his debut against Angers and added one more goal to go with five assists.

“Lyon is delighted with this signing, which confirms the club’s ambition to build a competitive side for the season ahead,” Lyon said in a statement.

Shortly after announcing the news that coach Jorge Sampaoli was leaving Marseille by mutual consent, the club had the better news that France midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has signed permanently. He was loaned by Arsenal last season and Marseille took up the option to buy him for 11 million euros ($11.4 million).

Late Thursday evening, French champion PSG made its first signing of the offseason by bringing in midfielder Vitinha from Portuguese side Porto.

PSG said the 22-year-old Portugal international has signed a five-year contract until 2027. No financial details were given in the club’s statement but Vitinha reportedly cost PSG 40 million euros ($42 million).

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