[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile most people will be enjoying their summer in the south of France, the Marseille contingent and their famed fans might be having a slightly more concerning time.
After sitting first in the Ligue 1 for over seven months last season, l’OM are now facing the prospect of a new season without their manager, Marcelo Bielsa, and several of their key players.
21-goal André-Pierre Gignac (Tigres) has followed Andre Ayew (Swansea) out of the club on a free transfer, Dimitri Payet is reportedly having a medical at West Ham, and Mandanda, Imbula and N’Koulou are all being linked with exits.
To add to the meltdown, the club’s training ground is currently being guarded by police owing to the threat from Marseille’s ultras against the current chairmen and owner, hardly an ideal way to prepare for the season.
Its hard to believe that Bielsa is sanctioning any of these flash sales, and this might have something to do with the extended summer-holidays which the club have just announced that the manager is taking. Whilst Marseille remain confident of keeping Bielsa on a new two-year deal, it doesn’t seem like anyone wants to stick around in the current circumstances.
The summer is going from bad to worse for the French side and despite the club slipping to a disappointing fourth-placed finish, few would have envisaged such a meltdown on the horizon. The nine-time Ligue 1 champions are about to head off for their pre-season camp in Spain with just 15-first team players and more importantly, no manager.
Marcelo Bielsa has become something of a cult hero in his first season at l’OM, and whilst no one is blaming him for the current crisis, it could be about to get considerably worse if the former Chile manager decides to head out of the open door as well. Bielsa would have been expecting to lose a few of his stars given their contract expiration, however, he would of also been expecting replacements.
The club’s solitary signings have been an inexperienced winger and a back-up goalkeeper, hardly anything to offer encouragement. It seems that the whole recovery mission is hinged on Bielsa’s future, something which is very uncertain. The outward linked stars have indicated that they would be prepared to stay under the management of Bielsa, and the club remain confident of attracting names under the manager if he commits to the new deal.
What doesn’t help is Bielsa’s unpredictable nature, the Argentinian could quite easily leave the club in an instant if he doesn’t feel his situation is comfortable, and his unplanned holiday might suggest that that is the case.
Whilst it seems like the club is in free fall, a new Bielsa deal and a few solid signings could completely steady the sinking ship. The 15-man squad does still include the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Florian Thauvin, two youngsters which offer a glimmer of light during this very cloudy summer.
All is not lost yet, however something suggests that this is a summer that’s going to keep getting worse for Marseille fans.
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