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Ligue 1 decision could cause problems for Villarreal

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Toko Ekambi situation could create a massive backlog of strikers.

Olympique Lyonnais v Paris Saint-Germain - French Cup, Semi Final Photo by Dave Winter/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Ligue 1 has decided to end their season and award the championship and European places based on points per matches played, and as things stand their decision leaves Lyon out of Europe. If you’ll recall, back in January we loaned Karl Toko Ekambi to Lyon with a obligation to buy should Lyon qualify for Europe. Lyon, is threatening to sue the LFP in an attempt to get what they consider a more fair sporting resolution to the season, but the outcome of that is unclear.

Before anyone thinks that France’s decision to cancel the rest of the season is based on altruistic health concerns, let me remind you that Ligue 1’s tv deal goes up exponentially as soon as the 2020-2021 season begins. This monetary consideration is unique to France which is a big part of why they are making the decision they are in reference to the 2019-2020 season. Especially given comments by Javier Tebas, I don’t expect France’s decision to have any impact on La Liga. However, what happens to Lyon does directly impact Villarreal, because as things stand Lyon is not obligated to fulfill Toko Ekambi’s buy option.

We aren’t sure what will happen to the worldwide transfer market after the COVID-19 crisis, but what does seem certain is that there will be a suppression of transfer fees, especially for the clubs that are not at the very top of the proverbial heap. With many Ligue One clubs’ very survival under threat, the government has said they will step in to prop up the league. This does not sound to me like a scenario where Villarreal is getting 15m for a striker.

If they don’t buy, Toko comes back, and we are looking at having Bacca, Paco, Gerard, and Toko Ekambi all under contract, to say nothing of Enes Unal and Fer Nino. It would be an absolute mess. Despite being a club that is generally well run financially, we could really get bitten by impossible to foresee circumstances if Lyon doesn’t find a way through the courts to get themselves into Europe. It’s a story worth watching.