France team – Do Jonthan Clauss and Téji Savanier have the slightest chance of joining the Blues in 2022?


In the history of the France team, the competition has rarely been so fierce. In 2021, for example, Didier Deschamps left the Arsenal striker (Alexandre Lacazette), a Real Madrid midfielder (Eduardo Camavinga) or two of the Bundesliga’s top seven scorers (Anthony Modeste and Christopher Nkunku) by the wayside. . The French breeding ground has never been so vast and rich. Among the many contenders, two Ligue 1 players continue to give weight to their candidacy. Téji Savanier, the attacking midfielder from Montpellier, voted best L1 player of the month of December, and Jonathan Clauss, best passer of the season, have never approached the world champions from near or far. But can their regularity, the needs of the Blues and their insane form invite them where no one would have ever imagined them?

Stats worthy of a potential international: Savanier, next Blue?

To integrate the holy of holies, it is first necessary that the performances are up to the requirements of Didier Deschamps. The coach, fed at a very high level in his career as a player and coach, pays particular attention to the course of the men he integrates at Clairefontaine. The Champions League is his master stallion. Neither Clauss nor Savanier have already participated, a serious handicap but not prohibitive. Of the 102 players he called up under his term as coach, 20% had never played a C1 match before their first selection. This was notably the case with Mattéo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout, Mike Maignan, Eduardo Camavinga, or, before them, Morgan Schneiderlin, Ousmane Dembélé, Benjamin Pavard and N’Golo Kanté.

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A first exception since… 2008 and Savidan?

Problem, Savanier and Clauss have not, either, played the slightest European match or they are only 10% to have discovered the Blues under Deschamps without any European experience. And only three of them were over 25 at the time: N’Golo Kanté (25), then launched in the Premier League title race with Leicester, Ruben Aguilar (27) and Benjamin Lecomte (27). This brings us to another of their limits: their age. At 30 (Savanier) and 29 (Clauss), they cannot sell their potential, they do not embody the future. No player has known his first selection beyond his 29 years since August 2012. The record, with Deschamps, is held by Loïc Perrin called in May 2014 at 28 years, 9 months and 4 days. And no Blue has had its first Blue selection at over 30 years since… 2008 (Steve Savidan). This is to say if the Montpellier and the Lensois start from very far.

Jonathan Clauss (RC Lens), November 5, 2021, in a 4-0 victory in Ligue 1

Credit: Imago

« We know very well what he does obviously, after it’s not all to analyze the performance of a player in his club, we have to see what he can do at the international level, and there are levels to cross between the two« , warned Deschamps last September, referring to Clauss. On Savanier, his judgment had followed the same logic: » If I say that we are attentive to him, it is because we also watch the matches of Montpellier and therefore necessarily the players of the club. It also depends on who is in front. « Understand that adversity in Ligue 1 has nothing to do with that of international matches.

The job for Clauss, the Olympics for Savanier

Does the course of the two men who emerged very late in Ligue 1 condemn them definitively? No. First because no one is, by definition, excluded ad vitam aeternam from the France team with Didier Deschamps. Then because Clauss and Savanier each have a major asset which makes them valuable in the eyes of the staff. The former Avranches and Arminia Bielefeld player is now a specialist in the right piston position. However, in the current 3-5-2 of the Blues, this right wing remains the weak position of the eleven.

In other words, there is a place to take while neither Benjamin Pavard, uncomfortable overflowing, nor Kingsley Coman, too crumbly defensively, masters it 100%. Today, no French right-back has the quality of center of the one who has already offered 9 goals and even more caviars to the Lensois attackers since the start of the season. Clauss could therefore fill a void. It is no coincidence that Ruben Aguilar, also a right defender, was called up at the age of 27 when he played for a Ligue 1 club (Monaco) and had no European experience. In this position, the coach’s requirements are much lower because talent remains scarce.

A penalty to relieve Montpellier: Savanier’s opening scoring against Andrézieux

At the post of Téji Savanier, undoubtedly the best offensive player in the championship behind Mbappé since September, Deschamps already holds his holder in the person of Antoine Griezmann. If no lining has emerged for good among those tried since the World Cup, Moussa Diaby scored points at the end of the year and leaves with a real lead. The change of system removed a midfielder from the Blues in 2021 and Savanier, who can be valuable in a three-way midfield, loses its usefulness in a 3-5-2. But the former Nîmes, unlike Clauss, already has experience in a major international tournament with the France team.

Ripoll: « Savanier? A formidable player turned towards others »

He seized the chance given by Sylvain Ripoll last summer in Tokyo during the Olympic Games. He led, with André-Pierre Gignac, a selection built in haste and with bits of string. But his behavior, irreproachable, and his level last summer marked the spirits. « I met someone very warm, very turned towards the others and who makes a link in the group« , confided to us a Sylvain Ripoll conquered at the same time by the personality and by the qualities of Savanier. »He is a formidable player, hyper complete both in the ability to harass the carrier and, above all, in that to make the team play.« , continued the coach of the Espoirs who asserts his right of reserve when asked if he would give his approval to Didier Deschamps as to an arrival of Savanier at the A.

Teji Savanier offers the victory to the France team against South Africa, in added time: 4-3, in Saitama – Tokyo 2020 Olympics (07/25/2021)

Credit: Getty Images

But his testimony leaves little room for doubt and the borders are porous between the A’s and the Hopes. Even if at 30, they are undoubtedly less so. « There are many people, many people and I only have 23 boxes« , noted Deschamps on RMC in December when the name of Montpellier had been submitted to him. Lots of people. Undoubtedly too many. They will have to finish the season very high with their club and at an exceptional individual level to create the surprise and overcome their major handicaps of the moment.The door is closed but it is not locked.

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