Mounir Chouiar (mid) (Basaksehir); Amir Arli (mid) (Samsunspor); Bruno Ecuele Manga (sp)(def), Erwan belhadji (mid) both released; Frederic Sammaritano (sp)(mid) retired; Romain Philippoteaux (sp)(mid) (Brest, loan end)
Dijon’s return to Ligue 2 last season did not go as planned as they finished a disappointing 11th in the standings, well short of the playoff places and with four more defeats than victories. Unsurprisingly, it spelt the end of head coach Patrice Garande, with Omar Daf taking the job after four encouraging years with local rivals Sochaux.
Daf is set to work with a side that has not experienced significant changes in its personnel. Mounir Chouiar, who was on paper their best player, has gone to Turkish football but, given that he barely played last season, this is no particular concern. Similarly, the other players to depart should not be big losses, while attacking midfielder Frederic Sammaritano has retired.
Meanwhile, the possibility of Bersant Celina and Moussa Konate departing is high in attack, while Yassine Benzia could also leave imminently. Given these players spent much of last season away on loan, Dijon’s position is not dramatically changed.
Daf, meanwhile, is set to strengthen his midfield. He has welcomed former Sunderland player Didier Ndong back into the team after a falling out under the previous regime, while Ousseynou Thioune has joined him from Sochaux. In the wide areas, Idrissa Camara and Walid Nassi have been recruited over the summer but Dijon already had good options in these positions, notably Alex Dobre.
Daf’s biggest challenge will be getting misfiring players back towards their best. This applies to the likes of Ndong but also to striker Mickael Le Bihan, who is capable of far more than he showed last season. Similarly, Jordan Marie is making a long route back from long-term injury and must be nursed back to his best condition. If he can be, he will be highly influential.
One point of weakness could be in defence, where Dijon have players who are either unseasoned or in the veteran stages of their careers. Indeed, the rearguard is likely to be overly reliant on 37-year-old Daniel Congre and Senou Coulibaly.
Dijon will be seeking to win promotion publicly, but in truth a significant improvement upon last season’s league position might have to suffice.