When Sinaly Diomandé was signed by Olympique Lyonnais for around half a million Euros from Guidars FC in the Ivory Coast in September 2019 it was with a view to the future. The then eighteen year old defender initially went into the reserve team squad playing in the National 2 division in order to gain experience and adapt to his new surroundings.
He helped the reserves to a mid-table finish in the Covid-19 curtailed league season and made six appearances in the run to the UEFA Youth League quarter-finals. His first appearance on the bench for the first team squad came in a Coupe de France game against Marseille in February 2020 and he was also an unused substitute in the three Champions League games that Lyon played after the resumption of football in August 2020.
During the summer transfer window, the departures of defenders Kenny Tete, Rafael, Youssouf Koné, Oumar Solet and Marçal pushed Diomandé right up the pecking order and he found himself on the bench again for the second game of the season away at Bordeaux. He finally made his debut, aged nineteen, in the following match, a 0-0 draw at home to Nîmes. He replaced Leo Dubois in the 56th minute and played with confidence in the right-back role.
Hi first start came in the next Ligue 1 match, where he played on the left side of a back three in a disappointing 1-1 draw away at Lorient. He was withdrawn at half-time with the score at 0-0 and replaced by Memphis Depay as coach Rudi Garcia shuffled his formation. Back on the bench for the ‘Olympico’ against Marseille at the Groupama Stadium the following weekend, he came on as a late substitute for the injured Marcelo and played alongside Jason Denayer at centre-back.
It looks as though centre-back is going to be his strongest position in the long term, but for now he’s a useful option to have on the bench as he has already shown that he can fill in at any position across the back line if necessary. He’s yet to total ninety minutes of first team action for Lyon, but his three substitute appearances haven’t gone unnoticed in his homeland and he received his first call-up to the Ivory Coast squad for their friendlies against Belgium and Japan in October 2020.
Diomandé began his career at the famous Jean-Marc Guillou academy in Abidjan that played a role in the development of such luminaries as Didier Zokora, Emmanuel Eboué, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou and Kolo and Yaya Toure, so he has some illustrious footsteps in which to follow. If he can do half as well as some of them then he has a very promising career ahead of him indeed.