As Rangers prepare to welcome Lyon to Ibrox in the Europa League, there’s been conflicting speculation regarding who will and won’t be available for the Ligue 1 club.
The latest suggests that former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele won’t travel due to “muscle discomfort” whilst ex-Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri reportedly misses out by virtue of not being double-vaccinated.
But Rangers have also been handed a blow by the Scottish Government after they agreed to let three Lyon players – all of whom travelled to Covid-19 red-list countries during the international break – make the trip to Glasgow.
Specifically, this relates to Brazilian international duo Bruno Guimarães and Lucas Paquetá as well as Zimbabwean striker Tino Kadewere.
Lyon spent a combined £46m (€54m) to bring the trio to the club and this represents a major boost to their chances ahead of the game.
“After carefully considering the public health risk, we have agreed to allow the three Lyon players to travel to Scotland,” said a Scottish Government spokesperson [Glasgow Live].
“International travel restrictions remain necessary to limit the importation of the virus and variants of concern.
“Red list countries pose the highest risk, which is why any exemptions have to be considered very carefully.”
Rangers must be wary of Lucas Paquetá in Lyon clash
Of the trio, £17m former AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paquetá is undoubtedly the most influential and Rangers will need to be at their best to keep this talented attacking playmaker at bay.
The fact Lucas Paquetá, 24 is a Brazilian international with 23 caps speaks volumes but since joining Lyon last season he has emerged as the club’s talisman.
A total of twelve goals and six assists in 39 games have followed and all eyes will be on the influential Brazilian after he got the go-ahead to be involved against Rangers.
Brought to Lyon by the legendary Juninho Pernambucano – the former Lyon free-kick specialist is now the club’s sporting director – Paquetá is the latest Brazilian in a long-line of them to steal the hearts of the Ligue 1 club.
Rangers fans will be hoping that the player doesn’t show why at Ibrox on Thursday evening as this year’s Europa League campaign gets underway against the French side.
Meanwhile, Rangers fans got a taste of what might’ve been as the club’s Champions League conquerors kicked off their campaign.