TIEMOUE BAKAYOKO. Marseille had been tracking Bakayoko since the end of the January transfer window as Lucas Silva impressed more and more and looked less likely to be staying at the club beyond the end of the season. Bakayoko is a solid and young defensive midfielder, who has yet to really be given the break he needs to become a first team player. Marseille fans will be hoping that the French midfielder signed from Monaco impresses in pre-season.
ADIL RAMI. With Rolando’s departure from the Stade Velodrome confirmed, manager Christophe Galtier found the perfect replacement and an improvement on the Portuguese central defender. With an agreed fee included in the deal, should Rami impress enough during his season at the Stade Velodrome, it is widely expected that Galtier will confirm the deal and bring Rami to Marseille on a permanent basis.
REMY CABELLA. The attacking midfielder who was brilliant whilst on loan at the Stade Velodrome in the 2015-2016 season, was confirmed as a permanent player at the club in a deal worth £5.75 million after Christophe Galtier agreed to pay the agreed release fee in the players loan contract.
DANI VEGA. Dani Vega was actually a transfer that was arranged in January by Marseille’s Head of Youth Development, Thomas Fernandez. After arriving on a free, Vega is expected to be loaned out as the striker faces too much competition from the likes of Jeremie Porsan-Clement for a spot in the first team at the club this season.
MARVIN MARTIN. Nearly a year after his arrival at the Stade Velodrome, midfielder Marvin Martin has officially re-signed for former club Lille OSC. The midfielder who was initially bought in to play in the attacking midfielder, saw his opportunities limited as Marseille started playing without a player in the number 10 role.
STEPHANE SPARAGNA. After struggling to gain much game time during the 2015-2016 season, Christophe Galtier agreed to loan out young defender Stephane Sparagna. His destination is Sivaspor, a side playing in the Turkish top flight, who should be able to offer the young defender more game time, in order to develop his game time.
ROLANDO. Rolando’s departure was confirmed before the arrival of Adil Rami on loan. The Portuguese defender failed to impress manager Christophe Galtier during his debut season at the club as he made several key mistakes that led to goals for Marseille’s opposition. Was subject to several bids from various Ligue 1 clubs, but manager Christophe Galtier refused to sell to a club in the same league, where he could come back to hurt Galtier’s Marseille side.
BOUNA SARR. After impressing on loan at Udinese in the second half of the 2015-2016 season, Udinese agreed a fee with Marseille to make the deal permanent, with the player arriving for a fee of £1.4 million. Only made 9 appearances for Udinese, scoring 2 goals but impressed enough for the Italians to sign the player on a permanent basis.
The opening of the transfer window has been very good for us. So far we’ve managed to sell and allow the players that wanted to or we wanted to leave, leave and bring in some extra income so that was a good start. In terms of our incoming transfers, we worked really hard to secure the signings of Tiemoue Bakayoko and Adil Rami, who I believe will add a lot of quality to this squad, and I believe Adil Rami will be a very good upgrade on Rolando, who wasn’t as impressive as he should have been during last season. Everybody associated with the club is extremely excited about Remy’s arrival on a permanent basis, he loves the club and the city, so his arrival has started this great buzz around the place and hopefully he can have as positive a season next year as he did in the season just past.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BEST PLACED THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND DRAW
The draw for UEFA Champions League Best Placed Third Qualifying Round Draw has been made at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. With the Third Qualifying Round being the round where some of Europe’s biggest clubs finally join the qualifying process for this seasons UEFA Champions League Group Stage, the ten teams entering at this stage have been split into two pots.
In the 5 teams that are seeded for this draw, there are some of Europe’s top sides that have a lot of European pedigree. Zenit Saint-Petersburg of Russia, FC Basel of Switzerland, Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine, Galatasaray of Turkey and Olympique de Marseille of France are 5 sides that have all reached the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League in recent reasons, and could well be amongst the 32 sides competing in the Group Stage this season.
That being said about the seeded teams, there are 5 very capable sides amongst the non-seeded teams. Steaua Bucharest are a former European Champions and Feyenoord are a giant of Dutch football, although they’ve been absent from the Champions League for a while. Standard Liege are one of the biggest clubs in Belgium with 10 titles to their name and Sparta Prague are the dominant force in Czech football. PAOK are arguably the third biggest side in Greece, meaning that all 5 of the non-seeded teams could well offer the 5 seeded sides a very good and competitive tie.
Some really interesting ties in this Best Placed Third Qualifying Round. Standard Liege meet Shakhtar Donetsk, and Galatasaray meet Sparta Prague in games that have the potential to be really good match ups. In perhaps the tie of the round FC Basel meet Feyenoord in a game where either side could come out on top. Olympique de Marseille will have to get past PAOK if they are to make it through to the Play Offs and Zenit St. Petersburg will have to play well if they are to get past Steaua Bucharest. The first legs will be played on the 27th July with the return legs being a week later on the 3rd August.
Olympique de Marseille have officially completed a double header of signings which sees manager Christope Galtier linking up with two former players at Saint-Etienne. The first of the two signings sees Swansea left back Franck Tababou join up with his former manager for a fee of £1.2 million after the defender, also capable of playing at left wing was transfer listed by the Welsh side. The player only made 11 appearances for Swansea last season, and was often deemed a poor choice for his position at the Liberty Stadium. However, Galtier stated that ”I am fully aware of his ability, he was fantastic for me in two years at Saint-Etienne, and he fully deserved the chance to move to one of the big leagues in Europe. What he didn’t deserve was the lack of opportunities though and I am looking forward to working with him again and hopefully establishing him as a quality player once again.”
The second signing of the double header sees central defender Florentin Pogba join up with his former manager at Olympique de Marseille, after Galtier was the man responsible for signing him from Sedan. Pogba who made 30 appearances for Saint-Etienne last season, scoring once and assisting once, said he was delighted to be working under Galtier again, the man who gave him his big break in French football. Galtier also admitted that the defender was a player capable of big things this season and ”I cannot wait for him to show everybody what he can do for Marseille this season.”
In a packed Quang Ngai Stadium in Vietnam, Paris Saint-Germain have lifted the 2016 Trophee Des Champions. It was Brazilian central defender David Luiz who fired PSG into the lead with a stunning effort from the edge of the penalty area, after his long throw had failed to be cleared and Angel Di Maria slipped the ball back to the Brazilian who fired the ball first time past goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez. The French champions second goal of the game came 10 minutes later in the 26th minute, as the on-loan Adil Rami failed to track Angel Di Maria’s run to the back post, as the Argentine was on hand to get on the end of Lucas Moura’s low cross into the penalty area.
The speed and ferocity with which PSG were playing was evidenced in the 32nd minute when Angel Di Maria added his second of the game when in just two touches of the ball Marco Verratti had slipped the ball to Lucas Moura who played a sublime first time ball into the path of the Argentine. The Argentine saw that Nicolas Douchez was poorly positioned and fired a sweet half volley into the back of the Marseille goal to make it 3-0 to PSG after barely half an hour, and surely put the game beyond doubt.
In a much tighter second half though, after Marseille started to sit deeper, it took until the 82nd minute for Paris Saint-Germain to add to their goals tally again. When David Luiz poached the ball from under Michy Batshuayi’s feet, the Brazilian released the ball to Angel Di Maria. The vision and craft of the Argentine saw him take a touch before splitting the Marseille defence in two by slipping the ball to Bernard who cut inside and fired a stunner past Nicolas Douchez, after the former PSG goalkeeper had been wrong footed. In a poor performance from Marseille, PSG had run riot and secured their third trophy of the calendar year, and meant that Olympique de Marseille travelled back to France and then on to Greece with their heads down after a poor performance against the reigning champions of France.
Laurent Blanc: ”We are delighted. It is great to start the season with a trophy, and a fantastic performance to go with it. We moved the ball around extremely well and Marseille couldn’t deal with it in the First Half. In the second half they were better, so I believe they will be back, and will do well this season, but for us now the focus is to enjoy this success and start the league season off in the right way against Montpellier next week.”
Christophe Galtier: ”We are not pleased at all. Mostly because the performance in the First Half was absolutely awful, but now it means that our trip out here was for nothing. It would have been nice to win, but to get to the next round in the UEFA Champions League is more of a priority but now we have to travel back to France from Vietnam before flying out to Greece a few days later, which is frustrating. But we will address the issues from the first half in training. Our second half performance was better but we still didn’t offer enough so we will have to do something different next week in Thessalonika, and then against Troyes in Ligue 1.