Johan Cavalli (r)(mid)(retired); Abdoulaye Keita (mid)(Olympiakos, end of loan); Alexis Flips (sp)(att)(Lille OSC, end of loan); Ablie Jallow (sp)(mid)(FC Metz, end of loan); Hugo Cuypers (r)(att)(Olympiakos, end of loan); Cyrille Bayale (r)(mid)(Racing Club de Lens, end of loan); Gaetan Courtet (k)(att)(FC Lorient, end of loan); Kevin Lejeune (sp)(mid)(retired); Felix Tomi (mid)(Le Mans FC); Maki Tall (att)(Francs Borains); Joseph Mendes (sp)(att)(released); Lucas Pellegrini (mid)(Puy Football, on loan)
The past season will certainly be remembered by AC Ajaccio as a disappointing one, although they surprisingly were amongst the main protagonists of the Ligue 2. In fact, the Coronavirus pandemic could have cost them a long-hoped-for, and highly unexpected, promotion to the top flight of the French football as the campaign was interrupted while they were on a high and sitting third in the table, just 2 and 1 points off FC Lorient and Racing Club de Lens, the sides that eventually made it to the Ligue 1.
In the past campaign, coach Pantaloni, who will be confirmed at the helm for the 6th season in a row, relied on a solid defence, capable of keeping 16 clean sheets and conceding just 22 goals, FC Valenciennes only did better than them with 20. Quite logically, the management saw no reason at all for touching the rearguard over the summer, while, on the other hand, they basically lost all their attack and some protagonists in the midfield. Seasoned Cavalli and Lejeune both retired at the end of the season while the likes of Cuypers, Courtet and Bayale all had to return to their parent clubs due to the end of their loans. The last 3 can be accounted for 19 goals – half of the 38 goals scored by Ajaccio - and 12 assists overall in the past campaign.
Thus, living on a tight budget, Ajaccio were only capable of signing some free agents and a loanee. In particular, Barreto and Moussiti-Oko, who are going to strengthen a depleted attack. The goals will be expected to come from the latter, who has been rather prolific only at Championnat National level, and young El Idrissy, who scored 5 in the past campaign. Lecoeuche and N’Diaye should also become protagonists in the midfield.
With so many players gone and the promising Tramoni brothers, Matteo and Lisandru, still aiming at leaving for pastures new, Ajaccio could end up with a short squad as they are still missing a winger and a centre-forward.
This could turn out as a transition campaign for Ajaccio, who lost too many protagonists from last season and might not have properly replaced them yet: safety seems to be their main goal. However, if they maintain a solid defence and keep travelling with the same success as the past campaign (they grabbed 30 out of the 42 points available on the road), they might fight for a top 10 finish.