Olympique Marseille

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Season Guide
2021/2022

Olympique Marseille

In


Gerson (mid) (Flamengo); Leonardo Balerdi (def) (Dortmund); Luan Perez (Santos); Konrad de la Fuente (mid) (Barcelona); Pau Lopez (gk), Cengiz Under ( both Roma, loan); Bilal Nadir (mid), Salim Ben Seghir (att) (both Nice); Matteo Guendouzi (mid), William Saliba (def) (both Arsenal, loan)

Out


Maxime Lopez (mid) (Sassuolo); Hiroki Sakai (r)(def) (Urawa); Christopher Rocchia (def) (Dijon); Florian Thauvin (r)(att) (Tigres); Kevin Strootman (mid) (Cagliari, loan); Lucas Perrin (def) (Strasbourg, loan); Said-Eddine Khaoui (mid), Yuto Nagatomo (def), Yohann Pele (sp)(gk), Valere Germain (sp)(att) (all released)

Marseille have undertaken what is undoubtedly the most ambitious close-season rebuild of any club in Ligue 1, perhaps reasoning that now is the best time to strengthen their ranks while those around them are weak. There is no area of the OM squad that has gone untouched as a total of 10 new players have arrived at the club thanks to sporting director Pablo Longoria, who has also been bullish that they do not necessarily need to sell to balance the work they have done. Starting in goal, it is expected that Pau Lopez becomes the No.1 goalkeeper after a long reign for Steve Mandanda in that position. The defence, meanwhile, has seen Leonardo Balerdi signed on a full-time basis, though he has not necessarily convinced fans of his qualities. Instead, more optimism is reserved for loan signing William Saliba and fresh arrival from Brazil Luan Perez. Right-back Pol Lirola has gone back to Fiorentina – though Marseille are keen he returns – leaving OM short in the full-back areas, with Jordan Amavi their only natural presently. Quality has been added in the midfield with Matteo Guendouzi and Gerson, while there was already a degree of ability in that area, with Boubacar Kamara, Pape Gueye and Valentin Rongier on the books. Meanwhile, there is a plethora of attacking talent, with Marseille thus far having managed to retain Arkadiusz Milik, whose influence in the second half of last season was tremendous. Aside from the Pole, they only have Dario Benedetto as a senior centre forward, though. There is, therefore, some weakness there. With Konrad de la Fuente arriving from Barcelona and Cengiz Under joining from Roma, OM have apparently upgraded on the flanks, where Florian Thauvin was disappointing last season. This is a side with both strength and depth, and with Jorge Sampaoli in charge there should be no lack of passion.

Target


Marseille will expect a Champions League spot with the investment they have made.

Season Review
2020/2021

№5: Olympique Marseille

Marseille overperformed under Andre Villas-Boas in 2019-20 as they finished second in Ligue 1, and they were unable to repeat that trick this time around, instead coming in fifth to secure a Europa League berth next term. Given the limited investment in the squad, which was already rather thin, and the packed schedule that the club faced, it should be no surprise that they found the going difficult in the early months. Indeed, they broke the record for Champions League defeats in succession, which was humiliating, but at least they impressed in the league, grinding out victories as they did last season. When the results in Ligue 1 stopped coming, though, the tension ratcheted up and ultimately Villas-Boas quit in January over the signing of Olivier Ntcham a day after the training ground had been stormed by fans. New life was brought into the side by Jorge Sampaoli, which bodes well for next season. He lost just two of the 11 games he oversaw. OM were much more direct and more energetic in their play. Florian Thauvin will depart, but his influence was not as significant last term as he would have wished, with Dimitri Payet important but Arek Milik, who joined in January, absolutely key. Marseille’s most important work this summer will be keeping the Poland striker, but after finishing joint top scorer with 10 goals in 16 games, that promises to be a challenge. Meanwhile, there will be a midfield overhaul, with too many players not contributing enough in that area, including Michael Cuisance, while Boubacar Kamara is their most sellable asset after another strong campaign. Valentin Rongier was quietly excellent. In defence, too, there will be changes. Pol Lirola is a loan player Marseille will seek to keep as he brought much needed dynamism out wide, which would surely have been more effective had Jordan Amavi been fit. In the centre, meanwhile, Duje Caleta-Car was the star man, while Alvaro Gonzalez was often hot headed. Long-time first-choice goalkeeper Steve Mandanda had a mediocre campaign. If Marseille are invested in smartly, they could make a big stride in the summer. The raw materials for a good team are there, but it needs help to bring it together.


Player of the Season: Dimitri Payet

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