Melvin Bard is a left-back who graduated from the Lyon academy to make his first team debut in December 2019 aged nineteen, coming on as a half-time replacement for Rafael in a 4-0 win at Nîmes. It was to be his only appearance that season, as he spent most of the campaign with the reserves in the National 2 division and Under 19 team in the UEFA Youth League.
However, he found himself a regular spot in the first team as the 2020-21 season got underway, playing in five of the first six matches. His solid performances gained the confidence of the club management, who put their trust in him as a long-term solution to their problems at left-back to the extent that they let their senior left-back, Youssouf Koné, leave on loan for the season.
Bard already looks at home on the left side of a back four, playing with a maturity beyond his years, but he has competition from Maxwel Cornet whenever coach Rudi Garcia opts for a back three and wing-backs. Bard has shown that he enjoys getting forward to support the attack and is capable of putting in a mean cross, but the Ivorian is still ahead of him in the pecking order when that formation is deployed.
Born in Ecully, just to the west of Lyon, Bard played his youth football with a local club before joining OL in 2016. He has been representing France at youth level since the 2017-18 season and has now reached the Under 21 team. Physically, with his fair hair, he bears a marked resemblance to a young Kevin De Bruyne, but comparisons with the Belgian midfielder don’t go much further than that.
Lyon will hope to hang onto Bard for as long as possible, but he’s already being coveted by some of Europe’s top clubs and was strongly linked with Bayern Munich in summer 2020. If he manages to establish himself at Lyon over the coming seasons then he’ll be sure to command a hefty transfer fee in the future.