Signings in and out
Although Marseille have not been in the headlines as much as monaybags Monaco and psg, they have made some shrewd and sensible signings. Hopefully there will be a few more faces through the door before the season begins in Guingamp on 11th August.
Gianelli Imbula –
The 20 year old midfielder was signed from Guingamp for around £6.5m. Having been one of the best Ligue 2 players last year and helping Guingamp to promotion Imbula also impressed in the Coupe de France match against Marseille in January, resulting in a number of clubs hoping to sign the promising youngster, including psg. Back then he had a solid game and did not look out of place against Barton and Cheyrou so will hopefully make the step up to Ligue 1 with very few issues. Ellie Baup commented: ‘his ease on the ball and ability to get forward and support the front line’ will mean he will be an important player in games (from skysport.com).
Benjamin Mendy –
Mendy caught the attention of a number of clubs last season and before joining Marseille the left back had been linked with Arsenal and was believed to be close to singing for Sunderland. Having made 48 starts in the last 2 years for Ligue 2 side Le Havre, Mendy has a great deal of experience for a youngster, and again will hopfully make the step up to Ligue 1. It remains to be seen whether Mendy will start ahead of Morel, or has been bought as a long term replacement, with the latter perhaps the more likely and Mendy making cup starts to begin with.
Dimitri Payet –
Undoubtedly the most high profile arrival of the summer so far has been ‘marquee’ signing Dimitri Payet. The former Nantes, ASSE and Lille man confirmed his quality last season managing 12 goals and 12 assists. Fast paced and skilful along with a wicked shot and passing ability will help add to Marseille’s attacking strengths. The French international was criticised in certain areas for moving to OM, however he insists that the move was purely a sporting choice with the lure of playing at the Velodrome and Champions League football too much to turn down.
Along with these 3 signings Alexander N’Doumbou has returned from Orleans on loan, as has Senah Mango from Uzes. Laurent Abergel and Raffidine Abdullah have now signed pro contracts with OM. Florian Raspentino has also returned from relegated Stade Brest on loan, and although he impressed when there the club have opted to loan him out again, this time to Corsican side SC Bastia. Billel Omrani has also been loaned out, to Ligue 2 side Arles-Avignon.
Thankfully there have been no high profile departures from the squad, other than the return of Joey Barton to QPR after his loan spell ended. There are reports that Marseille have given QPR an offer, which would see Barton happily sign with us on a lower wage, but it would appear as yet the OM valuation does not meet that of QPR. Leyti N’Diaye, Cris Gadi and Najib Ammari have all left the club after their contracts expired, whereas Pape Mbow had his contract terminated. There have been many reports that Marseille are keen to offload Gignac, given his current wages and differing levels of performances over the past 3 seasons. Only quality replacements (plural) would even remotely begin to make this look like a good move for the team. It has also been reported that Amalfitano is refusing to leave and wishes to see out the remainder of his contract. Given the slump in his performances and the current wealth of attacking options available, this departure would not be the end of the world.
Marseille took to Crans-Montana again for their pre-season training camp. As usual they took in some tough mountain runs along with drills, ball work and 2 friendly matches.
9/7/13 – FC Sion 1v1 Marseille (4v3 pens).
Marseille’s first friendly of the season saw them take on hosts FC Sion. Marseille took the lead in the 9th minute thanks to an own goal from Marques. A last gasp equaliser from Karlen took the game to penalties though and the hosts ran out 4v3 winners. Ellie Baup used as many players as possible during the game with 11 players playing the 1st half and another 11 eventually playing the 2nd half.
1st half – Samba – Abdala, Fanni, Mendes, Morel – Abdullah, A. Ayew – N’Doumbou, Amalfitano, Santiago – J. Ayew
2nd half – Bracigliano – Fabri, Diawara, Aloe, Mendy – Mango, Abergel – Azouni, Cheyrou, Araai – Ephestion
13/7/13 – Marseille 0v3 FC Porto
The second pre-season friendly brought together the OM squad with old team-mate, Lucho Gonzalez. Unfortunately it was Lucho and his team-mates who ran out winners, Izmaylov netted in the first half to give Porto the lead with Jackson and Iturbe grabbing a goal each in the 2nd half. Marseille’s work was made more difficult when Jeremy Morel received a straight red in the 40th minute, hardly helping his cause already. For many fans the reunion with Lucho was bittersweet remembering both his brilliance and flair, along with his awful final few months for us.
Team: Samba – Fanni, Diawara, Mendes (61’ Abdallah), Morel – Abdullah (46’ Aloe), Cheyrou (’66 Romao) – J. Ayew (75’ Anani), Amalfitano (53’ Payet), A. Ayew (83’ Abergel) – Gignac (61’ Valnuena)
17/7/13 – Marseille 36v35 Toulon
It’s difficult to know where to begin with this bizarre charity/friendly game, but basically ‘Marseille’ won the first half (which was football) 5v4 and managed to hold out for a 31v31 draw in the second half (which was rugby) against ‘Toulon’. Both sides were mixed though, with players and staff taking to the field at various times with Eric Cantona refereeing. Thankfully no one was injured and the whole event was good natured.
24/7/13 – RC Lens 0v1 Marseille (71’ Sougou)
A positive from the pre-season came in their game against Ligue 2 RC Lens. Setting out with a much more formidable line-up, and one more likely to be starting in Ligue 1 games in a few weeks a solid 1-0 win was a good result. A clean sheet and some quality playing time will help set up the squad for their final 3 pre-season games coming up. The only goal of the game came in the second half from Sougou who impressed from a wide position again.
1st half – Mandanda – Abergel, Fanni, Mendes, Morel – Abdullah, Imbula – Payet, Amalfitano, A. Ayew – J. Ayew
2nd half – Samba – Abdallah, Diawara, NKoulou, Aloe – Kadir, Romao – Valbuena, Cheyrou, Sougou (71’) – Gignac
Remaining pre-season fixtures:
28/7/13 –– Wolfsberg v Marseille – Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsberg, Germany – 19:00
Marseille squad – Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Abdallah, Abergel, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes, Morel, Aloé, A.Ayew, Romao, Imbula, Cheyrou, Abdullah, Amalfitano, Valbuena, Payet, Kadir, Gignac, J.Ayew, Sougou.
31/7/13 – Parma v Marseille – Stade Ennio-Tardini, Parma, Italy – 20:45
3/8/13 – Sampdoria v Marseille – Stade Luigi-Ferraris, Genoa, Italy – 20:45
Tournoi National U21
The Marseille under 21 squad have been competing in the ‘Tournoi International’ competition and sadly performed rather poorly. The games were 2x 25 minutes halves, and OM only managed to score once, in their final game against RC Lens. Despite drawing the other 2 games 0v0, they were defeated on penalties in both games.
GK: Fabri, Rey. Def: Charles, Sommier, Mendy, Pommier, Ephestion. Mid: Bangoura, Santiago, Araai, Said Ali, Mouhammadou Abdoul, Loiacono, Diop. Att: Anani, Yousri, Roland, Sparanga.
Group A –
Guingamp 1v1 Le Havre
Nice 1v2 Rennes
Le Havre 0v1 Rennes
Group B –
26/7 11:00 – Laval 0v0 OM (2v3 pens) Fabri – Charles, Sparagna, Mendy, Pommier – Epheston, Bangoura – Loicono, Santiago, Diop – Anani
Laval 0v0 RC Lens (1v2 pens)
26/7 17:15 – OM 0v0 Lorient (1v2 pens)
27/7 12:15 – RC Lens 3v1 OM Fabri – Charles, Mendy, Sparagna, Pommier – Bangoura, Diop – Yousfi, Santiago, Loicono – Anani (’32)