We are continuing our quick “needs list” from the other day with the rest of the teams, starting with Monaco.
Monaco – Easily, Monaco has to be one of the biggest upsets of the season. Yes, they do miss Nene, but they still should be a decent mid-table team. Still, one seriously has to wonder if the organization really thought that Daniel Niculae could provide Monaco with the same offensive success as Nene. Yes, he is a solid player, but really?
Anyway, Monaco seems to have some major problems with both their midfield and up front. Their midfield is sub par, though they do have a few players like Nampalys Mendy, who seems to have a bright future. Also, offensively, Chu Young Park really needs to find both some midfield and up front support, so that he isn’t the only one producing offensive chances. Therefore, finding some good, solid forwards and midfielders should be Monaco’s priority. If they don’t build their team now, they might lose some quality players. While Park has a contract extension until 2013, Ruffier’s contract expires in the summer.
Montpellier – During the off-season, many were wondering if the Costa-Montano tandem could be replaced by the Estrada-Giroud pair. And even with a few injuries this season, these two players have been able to work well together. True, they aren’t at the level of Costa-Montano, but they have the potential.
In other positions, Montpellier are pretty decent…maybe not the best, but building a good foundation. And during the winter mercato, Montpellier should continue to build on that. Instead of looking for players in specific position, they should really look for players at a good price, who are young, that can push Montpellier to the next level. Montpellier scouts have always had an eye for good talent.
Nancy – Nancy has to be the Southampton of Ligue 1…you always expect them to possibly fall to Ligue 2, but for some reason they are able to stay afloat (even though Southampton eventually fell and went into economic despair). And going into 2011, we see Nancy sitting in 13th place, higher than any of us expected. You can thank Damien Gregorini for their recent success, providing some solid goalkeeping.
Up front, Nancy do have some solid players, even though Youssouf Hadji and Marama Vahirua are both 30 years old, and they aren’t getting any younger. Still, both are expected to be with the team for a few years. Just like Monaco, Nancy should really look to boost their midfield and defenders. While they do have some decent players, Nancy is far from having a competitive Ligue 1 level team, and these are their biggest holes.
Nice – Well, what can you say about Nice. They are not looking like the greatest team this year. While they do have a solid keeper in David Ospina, and Raúl Fernández coming in next year to replace the expected-to-be-parting Ospina, Nice really have nothing. While their defense is solid (and much that is because of the play of Ospina), their midfield and offense really lacks in quality. When your answer to the departing Loic Remy is replacing him with Danijel Ljuboja, you are really in trouble.
Still, while Nice could spend some cash, why would any player in their right mind want to transfer to Nice? After how they treated almost everyone last year, including Loic Remy, someone would have to either be insane to transfer to Nice, or Nice would be their last possible option to play in Ligue 1, pretty much like Ljuboja.
Nice is kind of like the Army…there are openings, but will there be any volunteers?
Paris St. Germain – The story in Paris isn’t about who is coming in, but who is leaving as well. Any talk about possible transfers in the Paris have been pushed to the side after the whole Sessegnon-Kombouare saga started to unfold. Now, instead of people talking about bringing in a goalkeeper or making their team deeper, everyone is wondering where Sessegnon is going.
So, lets look past Sessegnon for a minute and concentrate on the needs of Paris St. Germain. Obviously, they need a goalkeeper. Edel has made mistake after mistake, and Coupet’s golden years are way behind them. And with how this team is both playing and building, they are looking to be serious, long-term Ligue 1 title contenders. Therefore, they need to get a strong, quality keeper as soon as possible, no matter what the cost. If Monaco wants to sell Stephane Ruffier, The Principality could easily charge PSG a huge transfer fee for him, and Paris might just be willing to pay it.
As far as the rest of their team, they are solid. They might want to find a strong, young right-attacking midfielder to replace the aging Ludovic Giuly, but other than that, they are building to be the next Ligue 1 superpower.
Rennes – So, lets see…in the last six months, Rennes has lost Jimmy Briand, Asamoah Gyan and Moussa Sow. Therefore, it is easy to say that they might want to consider looking for a striker or some sort. Other than that, this is a hard team to read because they do have a good young core, who are still unproven as well.
St. Etienne – Again, this is a team that is hard to read. During the off-season, ASSE did a good job trying to fill some holes that they had. Now, they have become one of the best balanced teams in Ligue 1. So, what does Les Verts need?
First of all, they are a solid team, but they are not championship contenders. If they want to kick it up a notch to the next level, then the really need to bring in some championship-quality players instead of above-average quality players.
Second, if any team could really use a player like Stephane Sessegnon, St. Etienne would be that team. Of course, ASSE’s midfielders right now are solid, but if they were to pass up a player like Sessegnon, they might highly regret it.
Sochaux – Similar to Rennes, Sochaux is a good young team that we really need to see play a few seasons before we can really make any judgement on any possible transfers. This is easily the hardest team to analyze. Because they are building a younger team, do they really want to bring in any veterans that might change the chemistry? Or would they want to actually bring in more veterans with leadership qualities? Hard to say, but right now their machine isn’t broken, so they shouldn’t worry about fixing it.
Toulouse – A few weeks ago, Alain Casanova decided to go with two forwards. And guess what, it worked. So what did he do the next week? Yep, go back to having only one forward up front. This tactic might have worked with the physical Andre-Pierre Gignac, but it doesn’t work with their current squad of players.
Toulouse really needs to find two solid, strong forwards where Casanova could either go with one or two men up front. They also need to find another forward just as a matter of depth. When a forward goes down on the team, Daniel Braaten is usually pushed up front from his attacking right midfield position. And while Braaten does play well as a striker, he is better on the right side. Therefore, just as a matter of practicality, Casanova should get some strikers and soon.
Valenciennes – Nancy Part II maybe? Like at Nancy, Valenciennes is always one of those teams that are expected to drop. Yet, they haven’t. And like at Nancy, Valenciennes rely on two offensive players in Gregory Pujol and Gael Danic. If these two players are off their games, Valenciennes usually loses. Yes, they do have some physical defensive players, but that is about it.
Therefore, Valenciennes really need to improve their overall team. If you take Danic and Pujol out of the line up, they are, honestly, your average Ligue 2 team. And if they don’t make any changes soon, they might be heading down that path. So, basically, they need everything.
Filed under: AS Monaco FC, AS Nancy Lorraine, AS Saint-Etienne, FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, Montpellier HSC, OGC Nice, Paris Saint Germain, Stade Rennais FC, Toulouse FC, Valenciennes FC Tagged: | Stephane Ruffier, Stephane Sessegnon