AS Saint-Etienne : the transfer window as a lifeline for ASSE | ASSE News

Saint-Etienne is betting on his transfer window to save himself. Saint-Etienne, 20th and last in Ligue 1, which receives Montpellier this Saturday, February 5 at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium (5:00 p.m.), has recruited seven players this winter to try to snatch maintenance. But doubts remain on the real level of these arrivals.

The experience of the recruits, and their mastery of French, dictated the choices of the decision-makers when it came to strengthening the Saint-Etienne team, which is four points behind Metz, 18th and roadblocker.

“We are happy with the result but we will be judged at the end of the season. We did with the means we had”, admitted the new sports coordinator Loïc Perrin (36), former captain of the Greens, referring to “bets on vengeful players who have everything to gain if they obtain the maintenance”.

The Loire club, revived after its victory in Angers (1-0) on January 26, hopes, with this recruitment, to get out of it as in the spring of 2018 with Jean-Louis Gasset.

Appointed in December 2017 when ASSE was 16th after the failure of the Spaniard Oscar Garcia and that of his replacement by the inexperienced Julien Sablé, Gasset had been very involved in a successful but expensive recruitment.

Defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila, defenders Mathieu Debuchy and Neven Subotic as well as winger Paul-Georges Ntep had been signed. And striker Robert Beric, loaned to Anderlecht at the start of the season, had been repatriated.

However, the club, 7th in the end then 4th the following season (2018-2019), paid very dearly, at the time, for this redevelopment by taking out a loan with high interest rates which still weighs on the finances of the club. AS Saint Etienne.

The effort of the shareholders, who have put the club up for sale since April 2021, this year only consisted in financing the salaries of these recruits who arrived free, without any transfer compensation.

These are therefore players who, sometimes, have not played for two years that the Greens have hired, such as striker Bakary Sako, a former home (2009-2012) whose last contract at Paphos FC, a club Cyprus, ended on June 30, 2020.

Defenders Eliaquim Mangala (ex-Valencia) and Joris Gnagnon (ex-Séville FC), for their part, played their last match thirteen months ago, while striker Enzo Crivelli, on loan from Turkish club Basaksehir, did not has scored the most since December 20, 2020 and 45 matches.

He was not the first choice which was rather on Jean-Philippe Mateta (Crystal Palace) while Beric, whose return from the United States was considered, found a better offer.

Winger Sada Thioub, on loan from Angers, had only played two minutes in the league on the first day against Strasbourg before joining ASSE with goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni, who appears to be the only solid and immediately operational rookie.

The Malian international right-back, Falaye Sacko, also on loan from Vitoria Guimaraes (1st Portuguese division), will have to adapt quickly.

And as the Saint-Etienne management has not succeeded in relieving itself of inefficient elements, the club, whose player capital is low, now has 42 professional contracts, 22 of which expire on June 30.

A situation which implies that the players free in the spring can already sign with another club with, as a consequence, a relative investment on their part.

Upon his arrival, the new coach Pascal Dupraz, who succeeded Claude Puel on December 14, noted the imbalances in the workforce that this winter transfer window tried to correct.

Nevertheless, the returns of the African Cup of Nations of the Tunisian striker Wahbi Khazri (7 goals), that of the Gabonese striker Denis Bouanga but also of the Cameroonians, Harold Moukoudi and Yvan Neyou, seem to give better guarantees.

And Dupraz is now spoiled for choice but with only sixteen matches to play, he will quickly have to find the right formula.