Georges Mikautadze (att)(RFC Seraing, end of loan); Lamine Gueye (att)(Paris FC, end of loan); Youssef Maziz (mid)(RFC Seraing, end of loan); Vagner (att)(FC Sion, end of loan); Sofiane Alakouch (def)(Lausanne Sport, end of loan); Cheikh Sabaly (mid)(Quevilly Rouen Métropole, end of loan); Warren Tchimbembé (mid)(CD Mirandes, end of loan); Ablie Jallow (mid)(RFC Seraing, end of loan); Sami Lahssaini (mid)(RFC Seraing, end of loan); Ababacar Lô (def)(SO Cholet, end of loan); Mathieu Cachbach (mid)(RFC Seraing, end of loan); Amadou Ndiaye (att)(FC Le Mans, end of loan); Ismael Traore (def)(free agent);
Thomas Delaine (r)(def)(Racing Club de Strasbourg); Farid Boulaya (sp)(mid)(released); Nicolas de Préville (r)(att)(released); Ibrahim Amadou (r)(mid)(released); Opa Nguette (sp)(att)(released); Vincent Pajot (r)(mid)(released); Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik (sp)(def)(released); Manuel Cabit (def)(retired); Pape Matar Sarr (sp)(mid)(Tottenham Hotspur, end of loan); Didier Lamkel Zé (r)(att)(Royal Antwerp, end of loan); Sikou Niakaté (def)(En Avant Guingamp, end of loan); Louis Mafouta (sp)(att)(Neuchatel Xamax, end of loan);
Metz suffered relegation from Ligue 1 last season and, though they finished on 31 points, in truth they struggled to be competitive for long periods of the campaign and were only saved from a very disappointing total thanks to surprise late wins over Lyon and Angers. Out has gone Frederic Antonetti and in has come the vastly experienced Laszlo Boloni, who made his name as one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s mentors early in his career. He has been out of work for a year, having left Panathinaikos in the summer of 2021 and has not worked in France for a decade.
As with many relegated clubs, there will be a significant overhaul of the playing staff. Indeed, they have lost several valuable, experienced players. Left-back Thomas Delaine has been picked up by Strasbourg, while dangerous forwards Farid Boulaya, Nicolas De Preville and Opa Nguette have all been released. Furthermore, Ibrahim Amadou, who was one of their more reliable defensive midfielders, has gone along with the experienced Vincent Pajot, who has joined up at Annecy.
In terms of incomings, the only new face is Ismael Traore, while the signs are that Metz will have to rely on a bunch of players that they loaned out last season.
Metz, therefore, look weaker than many teams seeking to bounce back from relegation. They do have potential in their squad, but it may be difficult to tap into. Ibrahima Niane has struggled to find his best level in attack after a long-term injury, while Vagner and Lamine Gueye are set to be given significant attacking midfield roles and will be important. Similarly Amine Bassi could become a key man, having previously thrived in Ligue 2 with Nancy.
Defensively, the combination of Kevin N’Doram and Habib Maiga in midfield looks a good one for this level, while the defence is relatively untouched from last season, with good attacking options at right-back via Fabien Centonze in particular.
Overall, meanwhile, there is a lack of genuine experience in this side; only two players are 27 or older in their outfield squad.
Metz will be seeking to bounce right back up. In what promises to be a highly competitive league, but their challenge will hinge on how they can click offensively. They should certainly be challenging.