After seeing Jorge Sampaoli close the door two days after resuming training, Olympique de Marseille is going through a good preparation. If the reality of summer is far from autumn, the beginning of the Phocaeans is not the most reassuring. In many ways.
Friday July 1, two days after the return of Olympique de Marseille to training. The summer is about to start when the Marseille club, used to earthquakes of all kinds, experiences a thunder: not satisfied with the start of the Olympian’s transfer window, Jorge Sampaoli closes the door a year from end of his contract. In the process, Pablo Longoria organized a press conference to record the departure of the Argentinian technician. A smile is in order and the president’s speech in Marseille borrows respect for the one he brought less than a year and a half ago. But, behind the displayed calmness, the OM boss knows without a doubt that he is about to experience a very dangerous summer.
Less than a month after the Sampaoli period, the start of preparation for the vice-champions of France does not really inspire optimism. In four friendly matches, OM had only one victory, against Marignane-Gignac, an N2 club, in their first meeting (4-1). Since then, Dimitri Payet’s teammates have experienced two relatively difficult defeats against English D2 formations (3-0 against Norwich, 2-0 against Middlesbrough), before being included in the last seconds on Wednesday by Betis Sevilla (1-1). Against the Andalusians, a slight improvement in the game can be observed and, in sequence, the Olympians are more attractive. Friendly matches call for caution and it is impossible to get specific lessons. But the same difficulties seen since the beginning of the “Summer Tour” – defensive wandering, difficulty scoring (only one goal in three games since the first victory against Marignane-Gignac) – are once again clear .
A very different game philosophy to integrate and a workforce that is not yet final
Igor Tudor landed at Canebière with a game philosophy that was very different from his predecessor. With the obsession for possession of Sampaoli, the Croatian technician prefers a more vertical game and this change in ideology takes time for the players to adapt. Learning these new methods – and the burden of the former coach of Hellas Verona – would have been the beginning of a dispute between Tudor and Gerson in training, according to La Provence. An episode that will no doubt be put in perspective, but which well illustrates the delicate time in which OM.
If there is better against Betis, a sign that Tudor’s speech is likely to replace its players, no doubt still need to integrate new elements in the workforce before the end of the summer. After a long pause, the Olympian’s transfer window got a big boost in mid-July with the arrival of Chancel Mbemba, Jonathan Clauss, Luis Suarez and Ruben Blanco, to which Samuel Gigot had to be added (ended already this winter) and Isaac Touré.
However, changes still need to be made in the squad and OM are struggling to find a midfielder and a left piston. Many channels that bring experienced midfield players to compensate for the departure of Kamara (Witsel, Veretout) are discussed with insistence, which they have not succeeded at the moment. Regarding the player in the corridor, Marseille thought they had the right end in the case of Darko Lazovic, but the sports director of Verona recently rained on the optimism of the Olympian leaders.
Since the start of the offseason, Pablo Longoria has repeatedly said that patience is needed to sign successes in the transfer market. However, ten days before the first day of Ligue 1 against Reims (Sunday August 7 at 8:45 pm) and at the dawn of the start of the season that promises to be crazy in the Champions League, after completing the workers as quickly as possible . can only be useful.
In terms of departure, the next few weeks also promise to be decisive. Recently, La Provence reported Frank McCourt’s frustration with the low number of sales. Since the start of the transfer window, OM has recovered 1.5 million euros for the sale of Lucas Perrin to Strasbourg, where he was loaned with an option to buy. For their part, Steve Mandanda and Boubacar Kamara left the club without any contract, while Nemanja Radonjic was loaned to Torino, one year from the end of the contract. Like Luis Henrique of Botafogo, whose almost automatic purchase option can be used at the end of the season and offers 8 million to the Olympian club (which spent this amount to recruit him in 2020). With the transfer of Luan Peres almost complete, Marseille’s staff will also push Bamba Dieng towards the exit.
The fate reserved for the Senegalese striker, considered by Tudor behind Milik, Suarez, Bakambu and Payet in the hierarchy of attackers, has somewhat angered the supporters of Marseille in recent hours. Of course, the victories in Ligue 1 and a successful start of the Champions League at the beginning of the school year (the first day will take place on September 6 and 7) will make the lovers of OM quickly forget this chaotic start to the preparation. But, if there is a negative spiral in the league and bad entry into the dangerous matter of C1, which is difficult to forgive because of the sad face shown in the most beautiful club competitions in recent OM campaigns , the beginning The season of 2022-2023 will be one of all risks for Tudor.