Sebastien Cibois (gk)(Brest); Antoine Valerio (mid) (Nimes); Joseph Mendes (att) (Niort); Akim Abdallah (def) (Grenoble)
Jordan Leborgne (sp)(mid) (Versailles); Johann Obiang (sp)(def) (Caen); Enzo Zidane (mid) (Fuenlabrada); Alan Kerouedan (mid) (Avranches); Marc Vidal (gk) (Beziers); Arni Vilhjalmsson (sp)(att), Malaly Dembele (sp)(att), Corentin Jacob (def) (all released); Jonathan Varane (sp)(mid) (Lens), Jean-Pierre Tiehi (sp)(att) (Fulham) (both loan end)
Rodez continue to punch well above their weight by surviving as a Ligue 2 club. They did it by the narrowest of margins last season, finishing 17th, though they actually matched the 43 points they won the previous season, when they ended two spots higher. They are not a side that is, on paper, set up for Ligue 2 football, but the smart coaching of Laurent Peyrelade has them achieving to an impressive degree.
One aspect of their game that they will be eager to improve on from last season is their goal scoring. They netted only 32 times in 38 league matches and lacked a notable focal point to their attack after Ugo Bonnet was surprisingly allowed to join Valenciennes during the January transfer window. Joseph Mendes has arrived from Niort and will attempt to be that man. It may well be that they seek to recruit at least one more centre-forward before the summer market is up, however.
Indeed, Rodez’s already small squad has been reduced over the summer. Happily for the coaching staff, it has typically been bench players who have gone. Indeed, the only player of note from the first team to have departed is Johann Obiang, who impressed at left-back but, with Nassim Ouammou already on the books to fill that void, he was expendable, despite his qualities.
The players who have arrived, meanwhile, are those who were on the fringes of other Ligue 2 clubs and threatened to break into their team without ever quite doing it. That is certainly the case with former Nimes central midfielder Antoine Valerio and ex-Grenoble full-back Akim Abdallah.
Grenoble will seek to set up strong in the centre of the park, where they have a very strong unit, including captain Remy Boissier, their key player, and Bradley Danger. They will likely be compact and difficult to breakdown, although the defensive unit is thin on numbers, which could be a weakness. One of their key attacking strengths will be Lucas Buades on the right of the park.
Survival is always Rodez’s target. It has been achieved for three successive seasons against the odds. Each time they survive, they appear a little better equipped for the following campaign.