Darline Yongwa (r)(def)(FC Lorient); Dylan Louiserre (k)(mid)(En Avant Guingamp); Ibrahim Sissoko (r)(att)(FC Sochaux); Quentin Braat (r)(gk)(Real Oviedo); Tom Lebeau (mid)(Concarneau, on loan); Joseph Mendes (sp)(att)(released); Quentin Bena (mid)(released);
Up until last mid-February, Niort seemed to be heading for one of their best Ligue 2 campaigns ever. In fact, they were sitting on the 6th standing and were still in contention for a place in the promotion playoffs. They ended up winning only 2 out of the final 17 games, though, and so their glory dreams came to an end. There is no real explanation of the reason why Niort stopped running all of a sudden but they certainly run out of steam and started defending poorly. Despite the final disastrous months of the campaign, the management saw no reason for a change at the helm and coach Desabre was confirmed for the 3rd season in a row.
Niort summer was not a particularly eventful one with very few players coming and going. Bad news is that they lost their top scorer, Sissoko, who left for Sochaux, while Louiserre, their leader in the middle of the park, joined Guingamp. They also saw starting left-back Yongwa’s departure. On the other hand, Braat, who left for Spain, had already lost his starting status in goal by the end of the campaign, while back-up striker Mendes was just not prolific enough.
Experienced midfielder Kabore, returning to France after a few seasons in the Russian Premier League, is set to become Louiserre’s replacement in the midfield while versatile forward Rocheteau could provide cover for the attack, where 20-year-old Bentil could be playing a major role this time around, alongside newly-arrived youngsters Sagna and Bakayoko. On the other hand, Vallier, who can play – and played last season - any role on the left, should become their regular left-back
Niort have a complete squad and they should obtain another quiet salvation. If they properly manage tgeir energies, they could even go for a top 10 finish.