Gourvennec, transfer window, preparation … Where is Lille before the Champions Trophy against PSG

DECRYPTION – A few weeks after its Ligue 1 title, Losc is attacking the new season without a rookie but with departures, a new coach and disappointing results in preparation. Point.

Is LOSC preparing to come down from its cloud? Still crowned with his title of champion of France acquired last season, Lille did not splurge on the transfer window, and seems to be heading towards a more modest year. The loss of Christophe Galtier, probably the great architect of their coronation, was already a first blow to Lille’s ambitions. Especially since the Northerners did not go very far to replace their coach who left for Nice. Olivier Létang, the president of the club, entrusted the keys of the truck to a connoisseur of Ligue 1, Jocelyn Gourvennec. A choice which, on paper, seems rather unambitious. Passed by Bordeaux and Guingamp, the 49-year-old coach is more used to the soft stomach than the podium. He has already been able to play in Europe, in 2014 with Guingamp in the Europa League, but had stopped in the round of 16. With the Mastiffs, he will make his debut in the Champions League, the queen competition of the Old Continent.

The one who was voted best coach in Ligue 2 in 2013 will be able to rely on a workforce that is currently less competitive than last year. Failing to have been reinforced, no arrival so far, his group has lost midfielder Boubakary Soumaré (Leicester) and especially goalkeeper Mike Maignan (AC Milan), key element of the title. These important departures have still not been compensated with new faces. The first northern recruit should however not be long since the young Amadou Onana, young (19) Belgian midfielder from Hamburg, is announced approaching.

The nice collective goal of PSG against Sevilla in a friendly on July 27 (2-2)

The Lille bosses see in him the replacement, at least numerically, of Soumaré. In goal, still no new goalkeeper to succeed Maignan. Odysseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) or Robin Olsen (Roma) would be tracked. A priori, this is no longer the case for Sergio Rico (PSG). Predrag Rajkovic (Reims) is also mentioned, but the Stade de Reims visibly shows the fangs against the approaches of the Mastiffs … There is a good month at LOSC to strengthen. But the transfer market is also moving in the direction of departures. Seeing a few executives, like Renato Sanches, packing their bags is not to be ruled out, and replacing such a player is no easy task. Note that the captain, Jose Fonte, has chosen to extend. He was free.

A half-hearted preparation

In addition to these uncertainties, Gourvennec must deal with a tension that has erupted within his workforce. During a match against Kortrijk on July 17 (1-1), Tiago Djalo and Xeka came to blows when returning to the locker room at the break! The two teammates were sent off by the match referee. “I made a remark to a colleague with whom I never had a problem, however this one felt offended yet I never insulted or disrespected him. At the half-time whistle he rushed aggressively towards me and I just tried to defend myselfXeka detailed after the incident. The two protagonists will be suspended in Ligue 1, but not this Sunday (8 p.m.), during the Champions Trophy against Paris Saint-Germain, in Tel Aviv.

Still, a strong explanation between two partners is not necessarily exceptional within a group, but the results of the preseason matches of the Mastiffs are not brilliant. Since a victory in their first meeting against Waasland-Beveren (2-0, July 9), the Northerners have never been successful. A draw against Kortrijk, then two losses in Portugal. The first against Benfica (1-0, on the 22nd), the second against Porto (2-0, on the 25th). When facing PSG, to say the least active since the start of the transfer window and more ambitious than ever, this preseason is not optimal. But faced with Parisians deprived of their best elements (Mbappé, Neymar, Verratti …), it may be the right time to continue surfing the wave of last season.

To see also – “Marseille is a source of pride”: Christophe Castaner salutes OM’s successful transfer window




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