🔎 Mercato: Have the Greens succeeded in their transfer window? ⋆ Peuple-Vert.fr – Football – ASSE

The question needs to be asked. After a still painful relegation, AS Saint-Etienne had to quickly turn the page. Not a small thing to do. While the transfer window has just closed its doors, is it successful? Let’s ask the question together.

An eventful summer (non-sale, coach, workforce to rebuild)

The way of consuming today does not escape the world of football. If we quickly turn the page, it seems essential to rewind quickly to go back to the aftermath of a relegation of the most painful to live.

On May 29, Ryad Boudebouz saw his penalty stopped against Auxerre. The Greens lost the play-offs and were officially relegated to Ligue 2. In complete chaos, Geoffroy Guichard was invaded by several angry supporters. In the wake of the evening, the leaders try to play the calm and issue a press release announcing the change to come… The name of the American billionaire David Blitzer resounds in all mouths. The vast majority of supporters then await this sale as a deliverance…

Sale or not, the 2022-2023 Ligue 2 BKT championship will start on Saturday July 30 for the Greens. The countdown has started and we must quickly get organized to get in working order. Two months to find a new coach, renew a workforce decimated and bruised by the descent. All this in an economic context where the club sees its income halved by evolving on the lower floor. Without recalling once again the more than heavy climate of the sale which hovers above ASSE. A real challenge for the trio at the helm Perrin – Rutsem – Soucasse. Insurmountable?

Laurent Batlles, first victory for Loïc Perrin

The first step was simple. Find a trainer and get it right this time. After Claude Puel and Pascal Dupraz, we had to turn the page on the sporting side. Bring a new wind. Find some game at Geoffroy Guichard. Who better than Laurent Batlles to provide these guarantees in a context he knows perfectly well?

His arrival was quickly completed since he was officially appointed on June 3. Only 4 days after the relegation of ASSE. A choice that is clearly unanimous. With good odds after a remarkable visit to Troyes, this is a nice move for the Greens. He says for his presentation:Relegation hurt everyone, me too. We will now rebuild. »

Rebuild. That’s the right word. And the construction site is HUGE. Counting loan returns, the Greens saw 15 players leave the club at the end of:

  • Timothee Kolodziejczak
  • Miguel Trauco
  • Eliaquim Mangala
  • Ryad Boudebouz
  • Bakary Sako
  • Assane Diousse
  • Bilal Benkhedim
  • Arnaud Nordin
  • Wahbi Khazri
  • Romain Hamouma
  • Lamine Ghezali
  • Paul Bernardoni (SCO)
  • Falaye Sacko (Guimaraes then MHSC)
  • Sada Thioub (SCO)
  • Enzo Crivelli (Antalyaspor then Servette FC)

A bad for a good. We dare not imagine the difficulties that ASSE would have encountered in finding a way out for these players who had a salary that was not adequate for their performance. Expenses must be cut drastically. The payroll, the first center of expenditure, must be reworked and controlled. It remains to rebuild a workforce that is clearly at a turning point. Some players want to leave the drill. Others have a salary that is not « adapted » to Ligue 2. But the clock is ticking… with a first match in 7 weeks.

Rebuild a workforce

Loïc Perrin explained at the time:

« Laurent quickly responded favorably. We wanted to go quickly. We wanted to have new faces. We managed to sign 3 players. They know the championship with a certain mentality. Players that Laurent knew. We will continue to work. He a lot is going to happen between now and August 31st.

With a budget halved, you have to adapt. We will go to the profiles of free players or who manage to free themselves… We will see according to the sales what we can reinvest. We haven’t invested yet. »

In order to follow up quickly, the Saint-Etienne board is looking at free or « releasable » players who could quickly bring added value to the workforce. Dylan Chambost is repatriated. Just like Anthony Briançon and Jimmy Giraudon who will follow a few days later. Criticized several times on this subject, Laurent Batlles does not hesitate to call on players he knows. Conversely, they are aware of the expectations and requirements of the coach. Not the most flamboyant but you have to be efficient. Time (again him) is counted…

Dylan CHAMBOST of Saint Etienne during the Friendly match between Grenoble and Saint Etienne on July 15, 2022 in Chambon-sur-Lignon, France. (Photo by Romain Biard/Icon Sport)

At the end of June – beginning of July, what remains of the workforce returns to training. The following week, the Greens take the direction of La Plagne for a week of preparation. Not necessarily in the coach’s initial plans, we must honor the partnership signed with the resort in the Alps. The group and the coach continue to prepare a return scheduled in less than a month… The clock is ticking. Still.

Also read: 🚨 Flash Mercato: Departure of a Stéphanois in the last seconds?

The workforce is very far from being at the level of expectations to hope to play an ambitious role in this Ligue 2. Several players no longer have their minds in Saint-Etienne. The offensive sector is depopulated. A context that pushes Laurent Batlles to embark several young people from the training center (Aiki, Gauthier, Rivera, …).

The Greens perform their preparation matches. Sometimes promising, sometimes worrying… On the departure side, there is no rush at the gate. Only Lucas Gourna finds a way out quickly with a transfer to RB Salzburg (Austria). 15 million euros for the Greens. A sum that is timely for the finances of Saint-Etienne.

As often, the transfer market is locked. It will be necessary to wait until August to advance its pawns. Which means starting the season not being ready. With -3 points on the counter… The results will unfortunately illustrate this without surprise: A defeat in Dijon while being totally overwhelmed. Two worrying draws against Nîmes and Quevilly. Before a humiliating 0-6 defeat at home against Le Havre. The Greens are not there. The concern is there.

The arrivals of Mathieu Cafaro, Victor Lobry or Lenny Pintor are not enough to change the face of a sick team.

Victor LOBRY of Saint Etienne during the Ligue 2 BKT match between Valenciennes and Saint Etienne at Stade du Hainaut on August 27, 2022 in Valenciennes, France. (Photo by Franco Arland/Icon Sport)

This does not prevent the Saint-Etienne board from working behind the scenes. In addition to Lucas Gourna, solutions are found for Denis Bouanga who goes to MLS (Los Angeles FC), Zaydou Youssouf finds a base in Portugal (Famalicao) and Harold Moukoudi is released to join AEK Athens (Greece) .

A few weeks later, Mahdi Camara will join Brest, Yvan Neyou Leganès (Spain). Both in the form of a loan.

In the dying seconds, Adil Aouchiche is released from his last year of contract and joins FC Lorient!

In total, no less than 23 players left ASSE this summer! Enough to move forward with a workforce that is looking better.

On the arrivals side, the Greens were also active in this decisive month of August. Benjamin Bouchouari landed in the most complete anonymity but quickly reached a consensus. After two starts, he already seems unstoppable in the Saint-Etienne midfield. Matthieu Dreyer has also joined the squad to provide experienced understudy to Etienne Green. Then, during the last week, the trio Pétrot, Monconduit, Wadji completed the squad of Laurent Batlles.

What assessment?

AS Saint-Etienne and its leaders had the tightest timing. 9 weeks between relegation and the first day of the championship. 13 weeks before the end of the transfer window. A period of time during which it was necessary to find a new coach, to degrease a sick workforce and to regenerate by bringing in new players. And all this against the background of an aborted sale once again. Anything but ideal conditions, we will agree.

In summary, we can say that 23 players have left the workforce, 11 recruits have signed. 34 movements in 13 weeks!

Has AS Saint-Etienne managed to downsize its group sufficiently? Mostly yes. However, we may regret a workforce that is still too large and somewhat unbalanced. For the time being Saîdou Sow, Mickaël Nadé and Charles Abi remain from Saint-Etienne. Laurent Batlles wanted a squad of 14-15 confirmed players. He now has 18.

The case of Adil Aouchiche settled on the buzzer comes to punctuate the work of the leaders of Saint-Etienne. Of the 23 players on the return play-off sheet, only 5 players are still in the squad 3 months later.

Has AS Saint-Etienne strengthened enough? It is obviously too early to tell. Only the results and performances to come will validate or not the transfer window conducted. We can however note great promises at the end of August with a very interesting performance against Bastia.

One thing is certain, AS Saint-Etienne has not been idle. We are all looking forward to seeing this on the pitch. Because the transfer window is finally over. What to work calmly for the Saint-Etienne staff?

released Harold Moukoudi AEK Athens AEK Athens
Adil Aouchiche FC Lorient FC Lorient

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