AS Saint-Etienne : Claude Puel, two years later (2/2) | ASSE News

Zapping Goal! Football club ASSE: the complete list of the Greens

A lost player, empty crates

It is unthinkable, and especially not honest, to want to take stock of Claude Puel without recalling how he arrived at the wrong time. Yes, a bad moment because it is the one chosen by the leaders of ASSE to make him understand how bad the financial health of the club was. For years, however, each season we had the right to the traditional statement from the management, praising the good management of the club. “The examination of the 2016-2017 financial report of French professional football and of the club accounts, recently made public by the LFP after validation of the DNCG, confirms the sound management of AS Saint-Etienne. ASSE is the the only Ligue 1 club that has not suffered losses in the last seven seasons. The 2016-2017 financial year bears witness to the relevance of its economic model, which in particular enabled it to free up the necessary resources during the last transfer window. strengthening its professional workforce. With the eighth budget of Ligue 1 and the eighth payroll, ASSE has been working for several years to control its costs in order to create the conditions for sustainable development. ”

The situation was actually quite different. And while we lost our greatest hopes (Zouma, Saliba), that we touched important checks (Cabella sale), loans were taken out to meet the ever-growing wage bill. On his arrival, the Castres are quickly put to the scent and know that the big salaries (Khazri, M’Vila, Perrin, Ruffier, Debuchy) are doomed to evolve under other skies. Out of the question, however, not to make them play, and to scuttle themselves in Ligue 1 while before the end of the competitions (Coronavirus obliges), the Greens flirt with the red zone. On the other hand, at the dawn of his second exercise, Puel tries to make a first sweep. Priority is given to young people, and some elders already have. understood that they could leave. This is the case for Ruffier and Perrin, it is the case for M’Vila (gone to Olympiakos), and it is even attempted for Khazri and Boudebouz who are shown the way to the stands or the locker room during the day. match. Puel cannot then imagine that the worst is yet to come and that his youth policy suffers from its first effect: the exposure of the most talented. Result, the central defender, Wesley Fofana, sparkling for months and who had been increased (75,000 euros monthly), arrives in the sights of Leicester in the last days of the transfer window 2020. Puel immediately closes the door, declares that the player does not will not leave … before letting him cross the Channel for 35 million euros. “We had a great start to the season but the loss of Fofana, which was necessary, changed something and with the loss of the broadcaster, the pandemic, what could we do? We had to ensure the salaries of the employees and have a speech of truth. ” There never was any speech of truth. Neither of the leaders, nor of Puel before he shared the disastrous state of the club’s finances. Which, in all fairness, has kept him from doing what he wants for two years.

Old, young, speeches with (very) variable geometry …

Talent has no age, we know that. The only problem is that it takes money and when a club does not have sufficient means to recruit, as is the case with ASSE, it must trust its players. Not really what has happened in Forez in recent months, with regard to the coach’s choices which are sometimes incomprehensible. Examples ? Romain Hamouma, first of all. Technically above the others, an important element (6 goals scored) of an attack in full collapse last season, the former Caen came to the end of his contract at the end of June, without any appointment being made with the leaders. Counting on Abi, Krasso and / or Nordin, and not keeping Hamouma, it’s a funny choice made by Puel, who decides everything. We will have to wait weeks for the player to finally get an appointment and sign an additional season. We had more frank support …. And what about Wahbi Khazri, left behind at the start of last season and to whom ASSE can nevertheless say thank you for the maintenance.
Constantly praised for his youth policy, Puel seems to have a lot more understanding and patience with them. Examples ? Charles Abi, whom he continued to trust for a year and a half while the winner of the Gambardella never put one foot in front of the other. Another case, and we will come back to it, Adil Aouchiche, in whom Puel has founded immense hopes. The former PSG, fourteen months after his arrival, continues disappointing matches and shows nothing. Without ever disappearing from the group. A finding that also prevails for Nordin and Zaydou Youssouf.

Mercato Fiasco

It is one thing not to have money and another not to know how to spend what little you have left. And on that note, Puel’s choices during the mercatos all turned out to be bitter failures. Jean-Philippe Krasso, signed by him? Loaned last season at Le Mans and still not a holder. Adil Aouchiche? With a substantial signing bonus, ASSE has invested in him. For a very disappointing result, the former Parisian having shown nothing since his arrival in Forez more than a year ago. But the palm of the failure, for Puel, was distributed last season with two players almost systematically injured. We are referring here to the Greek Retsos, arrived from Bayer Leverkusen, and to the French striker, Anthony Modeste, completely transparent and titular in the infirmary after coming to the Winter Mercato. Two elements that everyone knew to be fragile, including Claude Puel. It remains to be seen whether Ignacio Ramirez will be a success in the coming weeks …

And now ?

Claude Puel will be making his third season at ASSE. With his managerial position and his substantial salary. Whatever happens, the club will never be able to separate from him, Roland Romeyer and Bernard Caïazzo not having the necessary means. On the other hand, Puel already knows that he will not be able to extend his contract, the club having been on sale for months. Impossible, in fact, to take the risk of associating with the club a coach certainly famous but with a big salary. Le Castres, like all club employees, will therefore wait and see.

To whom will ASSE be sold, if it is sold … He, unlike some, will always be able to decide to check out certain offers, if there are any, from next Christmas. To have time to turn around. It will then be time to close the Puel page. And that of a double presidency.

to summarize

Arrived on the sidelines of ASSE at the very beginning of October 2019, in succession to Ghislain Printant, Claude Puel hardly manages to achieve unanimity. Due to poor results, decried methods and a very heavy economic context.

Benjamin Danet