Saint-Étienne name club legend Loïc Perrin as new Sporting Coordinator

After the removal of Claude Puel as coach, Saint-Étienne have named former defender and club legend Loïc Perrin (36) as their new Sporting Coordinator.

“Under the direction of Jean-François Soucasse, the Executive Chairman, Loïc Perrin will work in close collaboration with Samuel Rustem, Deputy General Manager in charge of sports activities,” explained a club statement. “The man with 470 matches in a Saint-Étienne jersey will be tasked with applying his experience, his perfect knowledge of the club and professional football in the service of Saint-Etienne’s sporting strategy.”

Perrin’s first task will be to aid in choosing a new manager after Puel’s departure, with L’Équipe reporting that former Toulouse and Caen coach Pascal Dupraz is the current front runner for the post.

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PLAYER RATINGS | Nice 0-3 Strasbourg, Strasbourg underline European credentials with ruthless win at a floundering Nice

NICE – 0

Walter Benítez, 5 – Made one excellent save from Sissoko in the first half and was perhaps Nice’s most effective player overall despite the score line.

Jordan Lotomba, 4

Jean-Clair Todibo, 4 – Fortunate to get away with an ill-advised challenge to concede the penalty which was overturned by VAR and was unable to hold a young back line together in the first half with Strasbourg easily on top.

Flavius Daniliuc, 2 – Couldn’t handle Ajorque’s physicality at all and was hauled off at half time, he was lucky not to be embarrassed as Ajorque robbed him of possession and put Diallo in just before the break.

Melvin Bard, 5

Pablo Rosario, 4

Mario Lemina, 3

Justin Kluivert, 5

Calvin Stengs, 4

Andy Delort, 3 – Quiet for long spells and could only produce an awful weak finish in the first half when completely free and one-on-one with Sels.

Kasper Dolberg, 3

Others: Thuram 5, Dante 4, Atal 6, Gouiri 6, Guessand 5.

STRASBOURG – 3 (Ajorque 21)

Matz Sels, 6

Lucas Perrin, 6

Alexander Djiku, 6

Gerzino Nyamsi, 6

Frédéric Guilbert, 7

Anthony Caci, 5

Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, 6

Ibrahima Sissoko, 7 – Subbed early after a booking but was Strasbourg’s driving force in a dominant first half. Although he should score when halted by Benitez one-on-one, he provided a deftly weighted first time through ball for Ajorque’s opener.

Adrien Thomasson, 7 – Supported the front two with a silky yet intense display and rounded off a superb win with a lovely dink over Benitez for 3-0.

Ludovic Ajorque, 7 – It was his flicked header that created a major first half chance for Sissoko before he produced a clinical finish for the opener. It was he who outmuscled Daniliuc and threaded in Diallo to win the penalty which was eventually overturned by VAR. Nice couldn’t handle him for long periods.

Habib Diallo, 6 – A little on the fringes at times despite a bold first half display from his side and should score before the break but scooped over from close range. However, he produced a cute flicked finish for the second and played in Thomasson to secure the points for the visitors late on.

Others: Prcić 5, Gameiro 5, Lienard 5.

Ligue 1 21/22 – Round 17, 5/12/21

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Claude Puel sacking to cost Saint-Étienne up to €1.8m

With his departure from the club made official this afternoon, L’Équipe report that Claude Puel’s sacking could cost Saint-Étienne between €1.5m and €1.8m in severance pay.

As former Toulouse manager Pascal Dupraz prepares to take the reins with the club rock bottom of Ligue 1, the club have reached an agreement to mutually end Puel’s contract.

The former Lyon and Leicester City manager had returned to his family in the south-west of France for the last nine days, since his suspension from his duties, as he waited for an agreement to be reached. Les Verts’ management were looking to avoid a situation that could end up in court, instead separating on amicable terms with Puel.

Dupraz had wanted to bring assistant Stéphane Bernard and physio Baptiste Hamid with him, although in the end only the latter will join him at ASSE. As a result, current interim Julien Sablé is expected to take up the assistant’s role.

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Saint-Étienne are interested in French left-back Prosper Mendy

As reported by Foot Mercato, Saint-Étienne are interested in picking up French left-back Prosper Mendy. The 25-year-old has been a free agent since August as his contract with Norwegian club Stromsgodset came to an end.

After the arrival of Pascal Dupraz as coach, Les Verts have been looking for cost-effective options to improve and deepen their squad with the African Nations Cup set to remove many of their first-team players for several games in the new year. Vitorino Hilton, Bakary Sako and Jean-Philippe Mateta have also been mentioned as targets by the outlet.

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Newcastle United have made Lille defender Sven Botman a priority January target

According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United have made Lille defender Sven Botman, who will turn 22 in January, a priority January transfer window target.

However, as Romano, writing in the Guardian, explains, Lille are likely to be reluctant to sell the player mid-season with their Champions League last 16 tie against Chelsea to come as well as a hotly contested fight for European places in Ligue 1 this season.

The Premier League club would have to pay at least £30m but Lille would want closer to £40m with AC Milan also keen on Dutchman Botman who joined Lille in summer 2020 for just over £7m from Ajax.

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Sergio Ramos on PSG v Real Madrid draw: “I would’ve liked to play another team.”

As reported by L’Équipe, PSG defender Sergio Ramos (35) told reporters that, having seen his new club eventually drawn against his former club Real Madrid in yesterday’s Champions League draw, he “would’ve liked to play another team.”

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“You know the love and affection that I have for Real Madrid and their supporters, but today I’m a PSG player and I’m going to give my all to help us qualify. Destiny is unpredictable… but coming back to the Bernabeu is reason to be happy as I couldn’t really say goodbye because of Covid.”

“It was difficult for me to adapt to a new country, to find a home for my family but in the locker room, everything was easier. Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Leonardo and Mauricio Pochettino made it very easy for me. The team is made up of real stars and it’s essential for us to get along for us to be competitive as a group.”

Lille receive huge financial boon from Champions League progress

As discussed by L’Équipe, Lille’s impressive Champions League form has helped in boosting the club’s once precarious finances.

Participation in the group stages alone brought in €38.5m but qualification for the last 16 has almost doubled this total. €9.9m has been received via bonuses for the 11 points gathered in the group, €9.5m of UEFA premiums have been added plus €1m from the broadcast revenue related ‘market pool’ while €3.6m has been garnered from ticketing revenue, excluding organizational costs. The prestige tie with current champions Chelsea in the knock-out stages will help too, meaning nearly €65m will be injected into the club in total.

Meanwhile, since the club’s sale to Merlyn Partners and the departure of current Bordeaux owner Gérard Lopez, Lille’s financial concerns have eased considerably. Les Dogues have escaped sanctions from French football’s strict financial watchdog, the DNCG, on three occasions under the stewardship of president and former Rennes and PSG man Olivier Létang.

In December 2020 Merlyn told the DNCG that they’d injected €40m into the club while absorbing a large part of the debt accrued under Lopez. That allowed Lille’s squad to remain intact despite fears the club would be forced by the DNCG to make significant sales in January to balance the books. Lille, with their squad unaffected, went on to win the title.

As reported by La Voix du Nord, Lille survived two further DNCG meetings earlier this year partly thanks to a reduction of the payroll by around €12m during the summer as 16 players departed the club. The payroll now stands at €75m, noticeably down on the 2019/20 season’s €90m. Debt, meanwhile, was also reduced from €162m to €106m.

With the influx of this Champions League revenue, which could yet increase with further progress, and sales from a likely summer exodus, LOSC should have significant resources to rebuild their squad next summer.

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Boubacar Kamara offered Marseille extension to become highest earner at the club

L’Équipe report that midfielder Boubacar Kamara was offered a Marseille contract extension at the start of November, which would have made him the highest earner at the club.

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The contract offer – which had short, middle and long-term options – has also seen the club attempt to get the 22-year-old to change his representatives, as they have also done for Valentin Rongier. While his mother’s role in his career has long been cited, his agents are also close to his girlfriend Coralie Porrovecchio.

In any case, Kamara is free to sign a pre-contract with another club from January, although he has yet to give an definitive answer on his future. Nevertheless, a departure looks to be the likeliest option.

One example of the tension between Kamara and the club came after the Europa League defeat to Galatasaray, when the club management sought to have the midfielder speak to the media about his situation. The Frenchman would not show up to the ensuing press conference, and later that evening president Pablo Longoria would make his feelings clear to his agents. Kamara would eventually face the press four days later, without saying a word on his future.

Jean-Michel Aulas says Peter Bosz will stay in charge of Lyon at least until February

Speaking to L’Équipe, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has explained that manager Peter Bosz would be staying on for the time being, despite a disappointing first half of the season after which the team find themselves in 13th place.

Aulas also confirmed that the Dutchman would be in charge at least until the end of February, while also confirming that director Juninho was no longer at the club, following his announcement last month that he would leave.

“We spent a bit of time with Peter to give him our thoughts, as well as certain solutions. Here it is: there’s no chance that Peter leaves before the end of February. I’m giving us the months of January and February to come back in the league and maybe the cup, if we have the pleasure of carrying on in that.”

“Peter is a very, very good coach. He continues fit the profile of the kind of manager we’d like at OL. We’re far behind in Ligue 1, but it’s not prohibitive. With our game in hand, we can potentially go to within six points of the podium.”

“We can’t overlook the impact of Juni’s announcement that he would leave. Since then, we’ve lost some of our playing quality, and certain things are not going as well. People were accusing him of not changing things, he did so on Wednesday, in the system and the players. We didn’t have a great game but we have a good game [1-1 draw v Metz].”

“There are no coaches on the market that have Peter Bosz’s quality. So we risk making things worse by giving in to the trend of changing managers. So he will stay. Until the end, I hope, which would mean we have the results we hoped for, and in any case until the end of February.”

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“Operationally, Juninho is no longer at the club. But he is employed until December 31.”

Kylian Mbappe’s standing within PSG’s squad is shifting as summer signings mix up group dynamics

As reported by L’Équipe, PSG’s summer signings have resulted in a sizable shift in the social landscape of the Paris dressing room this season, with Frenchman Kylian Mbappé (23) notably affected.

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Lionel Messi’s arrival has seen him spend more significantly time with former Barcelona teammate Neymar than Neymar has with Mbappé, despite the Frenchman and the Brazilian becoming fast friends after Neymar’s 2017 signing. As a result, Mbappé’s bourgeoning friendship with Achraf Hakimi has accelerated. The PSG squad is often divided into two distinct social groups, the French speakers, led by Presnel Kimpembe and Idrissa Geuye, and the Spanish speakers plus their allies such as Marco Verratti and Julian Draxler. Mbappé had been part of the latter given his relationship with Neymar but has moved toward the first group of late, away from Neymar and Messi.

The split between the groups is well demonstrated below with the South American led group training together in the foreground. Mbappé has since been seen to opt to join another group in these exercises. Mbappé, meanwhile, confirmed to L’Équipe in October that he called Neymar a “tramp”, or clochard, as he was subbed before venting his frustration on the bench after the Brazilian did not pass to him. 

Quite the rondo! Messi, Neymar, Mbappé, Icardi, Paredes, Navas, Verratti, Herrera, Di Maria. 🔥

— Get French Football News (@GFFN) September 27, 2021