Marseille return tempts Lemina as Payet commits to Ligue 1 club

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Mario Lemina admits it would be tempting to return to Marseille - a club that remains close to his heart - no matter whether a potential takeover is completed.

Mourad Boudjellal, the former owner of Toulon rugby club, revealed on Friday he has been asked to head a project involving Middle East investment to purchase Marseille, currently owned by American businessman Frank McCourt.

No matter what happens off the field, Lemina would be interested in a move to the Ligue 1 side he previously joined in 2013, playing 42 games across three seasons before heading to Juventus.

The midfielder is currently at Galatasaray on loan from Southampton, with his contract at the Premier League club due to run until 2022.

"Yes, of course a possible return to Marseille interests me, even without the recovery project. Marseille remains a club in my heart," Lemina said in an interview with Europe 1.

"If there is such a beautiful project, it is even more tempting."

A comeback to the Stade Velodrome would see Lemina link up with Dimitri Payet, who has signed a new deal that runs until the end of the 2023-24 season.

The former West Ham playmaker still had two years remaining on his previous contract but has accepted a pay cut, helping out Marseille as they deal with the financial impact of a curtailed campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've often said that I love this club and that my family feels good here," Payet said. "The idea came into my head when the president said that the players should make an effort. And who better than me to lead by example?

"Saying you love the club is one thing, but showing it is better. I really want to be part of OM and help it grow."

Under Andre Villas-Boas, Marseille finished second in Ligue 1 and are set to play in the Champions League again in 2020-21.