Football Season Guide

AC Ajaccio


Players In: Mathieu Coutadeur (mid) (Stade Lavallois), Ghislain Gimbert (att) (Le Havre AC), Jerome Hergault (def) (Red Star), Cedric Avinel (def) (Clermont Foot), Anthony Marin (def) (Nimes Olympique), Yoane Wissa (att) (Angers SCO - loan)


Players Out: Laurent Abergel (r) (mid) (AS Nancy Lorraine), Mouaad Madri (r) (att) (RC Lens), Pape Abou Cisse (r) (def) (Olympiacos - GRE), Jordan Pierre-Charles (r) (def) (Valenciennes), Paul Babiloni (sp) (def) (released), Marvin Gakpa (r) (att) (FC Lorient - loan ended), Ilyes Chaibi (sp) (att) (AS Monaco - loan ended)

AC Ajaccio are hoping for much better season in 2017-18 after three successive bottom-half finishes since being relegated back to Ligue 2. Indeed, the Corsicans certainly look in much better shape coming into this campaign than they did 12 months ago. The club have been busy in the transfer market, looking to ensure coach Olivier Pantaloni has a full squad at his disposal from day one, and they have not been plagued by the same off-field uncertainty as before. Ajaccio were threatened with demotion to the third tier once again because of their money problems but they have staved off that danger by issuing guarantees to the French game's financial watchdog, the DNCG. Several key men from last season have left, with Mouaad Madri - who scored 10 goals in the last campaign - joining RC Lens and midfielder Laurent Abergel leaving for Nancy while giant defender Pape Abou Cisse has signed for Greek champions Olympiacos. However, Pantaloni has brought in a host of players with broad experience of Ligue 2. Ghislain Gimbert arrives from Le Havre with a decent goal-scoring record at this level and midfielder Mathieu Coutadeur can offer creative class as he joins from relegated Laval. The defence has been bolstered by the recruits of Cedric Avinel from Clermont and Anthony Marin from Nimes along with the Red Star full-back and skipper Jerome Hergault. "Last year we didn't really make the signings we wanted to make. Players didn't really want to come given the situation. This year I contacted the players I wanted quite quickly after we secured our survival. I am very satisfied with our transfer window. All the players we targeted have come," said Pantaloni, who is targeting a top-half finish at least. "We finished 11th last season, so it is a legitimate demand this time." Ajaccio, who started pre-season with a 2-0 defeat to Ligue 1 Saint-Etienne, have performed well at home in recent seasons but must improve on their travels if they are to feature in the upper reaches of the table.


A top-half spot