The 21-year-old was reportedly considered as a potential replacement for Harry Kane in the summer due to his excellent form for Belgian outfit Gent. Orban scored 20 goals in 22 appearances last season, capping an excellent breakthrough season in European football. However, his form this term has been underwhelming, suggesting that Spurs were right to pass on a transfer. The youngster scored just three goals in 17 appearances in the first half of the season.
After Spurs decided against completing a deal, Ligue 1 crisis club Lyon took a punt on the star. Lyon made net losses of £138,645,915 (€162.5million) across 2020-21 and 2021-22, largely caused by COVID-19 and wider financial issues in French football. Long-serving president Jean-Michel Aulas stood down last May. Control of the club was passed to the US businessman John Textor, whose Eagle Football Holdings company has stakes in Crystal Palace, Brazilian outfit Botafogo, Belgian side RWD Molenbeek and FC Florida.
Gift Orban was eyed as a potentially successor to Harry Kane in the summer (Image: Getty)
Textor promised to “spend” and “go after PSG”, but his efforts have not materialised. Blame cannot entirely be levelled at the 58-year-old, with financial restrictions causing a spiral in form for a club who won seven Ligue 1 titles in the 2010s. A reliance on young players has been the philosophy adopted by Textor’s Lyon. An inexperienced side found themselves at the bottom of the league for much of the first half of the season, although they are now 16th in the 18-team division.
Orban joins a squad who are already onto their third manager of the season. He may take time to settle into a team that is low on confidence. The Nigerian has caught the eye of some of Europe’s top clubs as an elite finisher. However, there are other parts of his game, especially off the ball, that require improvement.
Especially as a replacement for Kane, whose all-round centre-forward play was a huge part of his game. Spurs instead replenished their attack with the additions of Brennan Johnson, Alejo Veliz and the January arrival of Timo Werner on loan from RB Leipzig. An absence of creativity last season turned them towards James Maddison, who was available in the summer following Leicester’s relegation from the Premier League.