France U21 international centre-back Castello Lukeba (20) has opened up to L’Equipe on the reasons that led him to leave formative club Olympique Lyonnais in a €35m move to join RB Leipzig.
Lukeba, a technically gifted and physical left-footed centre-back, was the latest gem coming through the ranks of the famed Lyon Academy. Before he had turned 19, he was an undisputed starter in Peter Bosz’s OL side two years ago. Only eighteen months after his breakout season with Les Gones, the Lyon-born defender had already parted ways with his formative club.
“The supporters loved me and now they hate me (…) but they don’t know the whole story“, the French U21 international says. “The club wanted to sell me for several months.” According to Lukeba, OL had put him for sale at the start of the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season whilst he wanted to extend his deal with his formative club. “The executives told me they counted on me for years to come, but it never reflected in a contract extension proposal.“
Lukeba reveals that he and his representatives were kept in the dark about the club’s stance regarding his future. “When you claim to wish to keep the players, the least you can do is give an answer, either yes or no. I took it as a lack of respect and consideration.” The RB Leipzig man also learned that his sale was reportedly planned by OL in their budget proposal to the DNCG – French football’s financial watchdog. “In those conditions, it was impossible for me to remain at OL.” Lukeba eventually acknowledges Lyon boss John Textor for allowing him to leave.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval