The new star. At 15, Rayan Cherki already looked like a great man. Talented and promising, the young man born in 2003 was followed by fans such as journalists, observers and agents. Almost everyone predicted a bright future for the player trained in Lyon. His debut at the professional level was expected. They took place on October 19, 2019 against Dijon. Launched by Rudi Garcia, he had played 8 minutes. Since then, the native of Lyon has experienced a lot, he who is not necessarily at the level he hoped for after record times in the youth categories. Precocious, he had been regularly upgraded and it hadn’t been disturbing as he seemed at ease.
But now it seems a little more difficult. Under Rudi Garcia, Cherki played 43 games in all competitions during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. But he had only started 12 times (7 goals and 6 assists). It is also with the former OM coach that he played the most, he who had been good against Nantes in the Coupe de France on January 18, 2020. That day, he had scored a double for what is certainly one of his best matches at Lyon. With Peter Bosz, this versatile footballer had some playing time to eat but without necessarily being considered an essential element in the eleven.
The coaches pass, the situation does not change
During the Dutchman’s first season, in 2021-22, Cherki appeared 20 times, including 6 times as a starter (2 goals, 2 assists). However, it should be remembered that he was injured and that he missed a good part of the second part of the season. Despite this and the fact that he has not yet lived up to the hopes placed in him, OL absolutely wanted him extended. Under contract until 2023, Rayan Cherki took his time. But he finally initialed a new contract on August 18. Linked to Les Gones until 2024, with the possibility of returning for an additional year, i.e. until 2025, he was in heaven.
““I am very happy to extend my contract with my training club which is also that of my heart and my city. We had made the decision to wait until I fully recovered from my injury to make concrete progress in the discussions. But I had this desire to continue to grow with OL and to give back to the club everything it has already given me through this signing.. But he didn’t have much of a chance. Replacing in the spirit of Peter Bosz, he however played 9 games at the start of the season. But he had only been established once, he who had notably delivered 3 assists.
A talent made in OL on the bench
A luxury joker for OL. But the player had quickly made things clear in selection with the Hopes last September. “No, I don’t think I’m a joker. I can be satisfied but I would have to be able to achieve that in ninety minutes. I hope that in the club I can do it.” A message heard by Bosz who had therefore offered him his one and only tenure against Lens on October 2 (1-0 defeat). But the player, who had admitted that he preferred to play in the position of number 10, had not been to his advantage. He had made no distinctions. A missed opportunity by Cherki, who has often been criticized for doing a little too much with the ball without necessarily having to.
The 19-year-old was hoping to get off to a good start under Laurent Blanc, whose record was defended by Anthony Lopes (see video). But Cherki was quickly calmed down when the coach announced during his presentation that he would mainly rely on the old players to get Lyon out of the crisis. It was therefore from the bench that he lived the matches against Rennes and Montpellier. Then he came into play against Lille (4 minutes) before having a little more playing time in Marseille. At the Orange Vélodrome, he came on for 14 minutes in place of Maxence Caqueret. He tried to bring percussion and pep. But he was not brilliant, he who lost a few balloons.
A crack that raises questions
Friday evening, it was from the bench that he started the last meeting before the break against Nice. He entered the game in the 77th in place of Toko Ekambi. The player born in 2003 has been rather interesting when his case is therefore beginning to raise questions. Especially since the goal was for him to turn a corner this season based on OL DNA. What Cherki owns. But with the urgency of the situation, it is difficult for Laurent Blanc to use him more. The tricolor technician also expects more from him. Lyon certainly too. Almost three months after his contract extension, Rayan Cherki, who is a little more criticized on social networks, is not playing as much as he wants.
Staying on the bench will not allow him to gain experience to pass this course which he is struggling to cross. At his age, Karim Benzema, passing through Lyon last night to present his Ballon d’Or, was already a starter at OL. So it is impossible and even inappropriate to compare the two men of course, but Cherki certainly hoped to imitate his elder by shining in the Lyon jersey. He will have to ask himself the right questions, he whose future should once again be talked about since he will be one year from the end of his contract in June 2023. A loan this winter could be a good solution for him to continue and saves essential minutes for learning. But it is difficult to imagine Lyon letting go.
Laurent Blanc wants to help him
Asked about Cherki at a press conference after the draw against Nice, Laurent Blanc said: “he was good. He had personal concerns. I spoke with him, he assured me that we could count on him. I’m happy because he’s a boy who is steeped in qualities but who doesn’t always make the effort at the right time, in the right place. God knows you have to take the lead with him but it’s not a problem. I will take it with him without problem because he is a talented player..
He concluded thus: “You know young people that’s it. But he is someone who deserves attention, like all the other players. He is a player who has qualities that others do not have (…) We are all waiting for him to explode. I hope. I don’t think I’m stronger than the others (his former coaches, editor’s note) but we’ll be careful about that.”. Rayan Cherki is warned, Laurent Blanc is not going to let go of a sole.
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