Still in the race for maintenance, AS Saint-Etienne, which travels to Nice this Wednesday (7 p.m.), recorded several winter arrivals. Without much success.
What if Saint-Etienne had passed its winter transfer window before it opened? By appointing Pascal Dupraz at the head of the club on December 14, 2021, two weeks before the start of winter transactions, the ASSE staff had kicked off crucial restructuring to save a club. adrift. “We will keepbecause each of us will give the best of ourselves“, promised then the new coach of a club with only 12 points at the winter break.
The sense of urgency then won the Forez. Desired, reinforcements have arrived to solidify a team in distress. Five months later, if the Greens are on the verge of achieving the impossible (never a team has escaped with 12 points halfway through), the contribution of rookies is at best (very) limited. So much so that one of them, Joris Gnagnon (25), has already left without playing. Chosen by… Claude Puel, the former defender of Rennes arrived free but overweight. If he had agreed to drastically reduce his salary, the central defender was never able to bring his stone to the building. Dismissed by mutual agreement last week, Gnagnon will therefore not be traveling to Nice this Wednesday (7 p.m.), late match of the 36e day, moved because of the final of the Coupe de France.
The errors of Mangala, the tile for Sacko
A crucial match for which Dupraz to count on an almost complete group. “With the exception of Falaye Sacko, a bit fair, everyone can claim to be summoned to Nice”, revealed the Haute-Savoie technician on Monday. A notable absence, however, as the Malian defender has quickly developed since his arrival on loan from Vitoria Guimaraes. Training right lateral, Falaye Sacko (27) put his versatility to good use in the Saint-Etienne defense, in which he settled (7 starts in 7 matches) before injuring his knee after 11 minutes in the sad match against Troyes in March (1-1). A “disasterDupraz then regretted,devastatedfor a player who has become essential to ASSE.
At his side, if Gnagnon will never have had his chance, Eliaquim Mangala (31 years old) did not have the expected contribution for his first experience in Ligue 1. Also arriving free, the French international (8 selections) plays but does not manage to stabilize the second worst defense of the elite ( 70 goals conceded). His catastrophic performance against Marseille (2-4) confirmed the tendency of a player who runs after his past. Captain in Rennes during the last Saint-Etienne outing, he despite himself offered the two goals to the locals (2-0, April 30). It seems a long time ago when he was the most expensive defender in the world (transferred from Porto to City against 45 million euros in 2014).
Behind Mangala, Paul Bernardoni (25 years old) arrived to everyone’s surprise. On loan from Angers, where he was no longer part of his coach’s plans, the former international hopeful goalkeeper (18 caps) had the heavy task of posing as the last bastion of an often overwhelmed defense. Result: an average close to two goals conceded per match (31 goals in 16 matches) and a finding of helplessness during the routs against Marseille, Monaco (1-4) and especially in Lorient (6-2). Hardly reassuring at the foot or in the air, the former goalkeeper of Troyes and Bordeaux, who has always been preferred to the child of the club Etienne Green, has nevertheless distinguished himself in certain matches, such as when he preserves the victory against Brest at the end of the match (2-1).
But where is Crivelli?
Arrived in Bernardoni’s luggage, Sada Thioub (26 years old) finds playing time (15 matches out of 16) in Forez. Undesirable in Angers (2 minutes during the first day), the former Nîmes brings his versatility if not decisive (a decisive pass). Walked to all positions on the right side, the Senegalese, also on loan from the SCO, brings a welcome generosity in the slump of the Greens.
of generosity, Bakary Sako (34 years old) is not lacking, but the train seems to have passed for the one who revealed himself in Saint-Etienne before winning England in 2012. Returned to the banks of the Loire to relaunch a checkered career, the striker scored for his first in the Cup (on a penalty against Jura Sud, 4-1) before falling into line. If he was able to observe an intact strike force, the Malian international (21 caps, 9 goals) is out of form and his coach understood it well (8 matches, no tenure).
A playing time nevertheless much longer than that ofEnzo Crivelli (27 years old). On loan from the Turkish club Antalyaspor, the former Bastiais only returned for 26 short minutes against Marseille. Before and after, nothing. Arrived injured, the striker took time to get back on his feet but clearly does not enter into the plans of Dupraz and his assistant coach Julien Sablé, who dreamed of Loïc Rémy instead. “A player I would have liked to see again? Loïc Rémy, we almost had him signed at Sainté“, revealed Sablé on Sunday. Conversely, it is players already in place who have found their colors in the rescue mission, starting with Denis Bouanga (8 goals), alongside captain Wahbi Khazri (9 goals). The grass is not always greener elsewhere.