Summer is almost here, but French football rights are about to be resumed. Ligue 2 will resume on Saturday July 30, a week before the elite. The chaos of the summer and especially the uncertainty about Bordeaux, which announced a season in National 1 before continuing in the second division, has already laid the foundations for an unprecedented season in all that level.
The upcoming transition from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 to 18 clubs will reverse the competition. Who will pull the game when others drink the chalice to the dregs? Franceinfo: sport has stock.
Saint-Etienne and Paris FC as favourites
Images of members of the public rushing onto the lawn, fireworks and smoke bombs in hand, must still be fresh in Saint-Etienne’s mind. After a turbulent season that saw the club relegated to Ligue 2 for the first time since the 2003-2004 season, Laurent Batlles’s men, who arrived this summer at Forez, have started again elite attack with some advantages. When many players left the ship, including Romain Hamouma, Arnaud Nordin and Wahbi Khazri, the new technician from Saint-Etienne expected by searching, from the beginning of the transfer window, experience (Anthony Briançon, Jimmy Giraudon ) and safe bets in Ligue 2 (Dylan Chambost, Victor Lobry). With a higher budget than other residents, Saint-Etienne is naturally one of the favorites to climb.
>> Ligue 1: Saint-Etienne, the five acts of a season in the green hell
The Greens can be accompanied by a regular at the top of the table for several seasons, Paris FC. The Ile-de-France club remained in the two eliminations of the playoffs for promotion to Ligue 1 and once again can rely on the experience of Thierry Laurey, who was used in the promotion of Strasbourg and was already there last season. In the new side, Bruges winger Alimani Gory has been permanently transferred to the capital after a promising half-season. Former Montpellier resident and regular on the Ligue 1 lawns Paul Lasne has come to strengthen the environment.
Metz and Sochaux as outsiders
Back in Ligue 2 after three seasons in the top flight, FC Metz has made a lot of changes in the off-season. Many executives left such as Pape Matar Sarr, Vincent Pajot, but also Nicolas de Préville or even coach Frédéric Antonetti. But the Lorraine club is used to rebuilding, and to make the uprising between the two divisions.
As for Sochaux, another big name in French football, the 5th place last season, at the gates of the Ligue 1 accession dams, left regrets but also aroused the appetite. Olivier Guégan, the new coach, dreams of doing even better than this best result since FC Sochaux Montbéliard played in L2 in 2014.
The question is: where is Bordeaux going?
The scapular club saved itself administratively a few days ago, but is this the case sportingly? By getting rid of some of the best players (Sekou Mara left Southampton, Yacine Adli loaned back to AC Milan, Timothée Pembélé loaned to PSG), Bordeaux became poor while waiting to know the situations of Hwang Ui-jo (12 goals in L1 last season) or Alberth Elis (9 goals), two of the unique players who know themselves and whose market value is very significant.
The transfer window has just begun in the direction of the arrivals although the passing of Bordeaux in front of the DNCG, Monday August 1, should condition the end of the summer of the Girondins as the championship starts this week. A real headache.
Annecy, Rodez and Pau, the same fight
He is the Petit Poucet of the competition. 29 years after holding the shoulders of Ligue 2, Annecy is back in the second division. With former Niçois turned globetrotter, Alexy Bosetti, the Haut-Savoyards will aim to continue this season.
Pau and Rodez are also in the same situation and seem, on paper, not armed to fight against big teams like Saint-Etienne, Paris FC or even FC Metz.
The truth: only two elite climbs
The change is now. From the 2023/2024 season, Ligue 1 will drop to 18, thus causing the relegation of four clubs, for two accessions from Ligue 2. Therefore the accession play-offs are placed in the bracket until at the end of this transition period. Ligue 2 will increase to 18 in the 2024-2025 season and will remain at 20 until then. For this, it will be down to four teams that will only receive two climbs from the National.