Growing pains was the theme of this summer as Patrice Evra tried to adjust the roster to fit a 4-3-3, with little to work with on the transfer market General Manager Frédéric Hébert looked to free transfers, youth signings, and loans to help bridge between the current team and the youth the team would like to develop. Evra inherits a squad that barely escaped relegation after a 17th place finish in the 2019-20 season, only (2) points kept the team out of the Championnat National with the second worst goal differential in Ligue 2. It won’t take much to improve on that finish, the media and ownership are aligned on their expectations for this year with a Top 10 place.
With some early financial restrictions hanging over their head RB Paris did not look to make many summer signings, but things have a way of getting out of control. The club did not have much to work with in terms of transfer budget, so players needed to be sold and a large group of players needed to be allowed to leave as their contracts expired. There is some additional reluctance to spend too much before the club is in Ligue 1, so a failure to earn promotion might make things even more difficult on Evra. In terms of locker room atmosphere, things didn’t go well right out of the gate as a number of older players were allowed to leave on free transfers and a few well liked veterans were sold to add some much needed transfer revenue and reduce pressure on the wage budget. The tipping point became the sale of DM Cyril Mandouki, an influential player and best option as the anchor man / defensive cover in a 4-1-2-3 formation. The €375K offered for him nearly tripled the reported transfer budget and Mandouki appears to no longer have a place in the squad with Evra favoring a 4-2-3-1, for management the sale was easy but a number of senior players were concerned with the sale and cited a lack of midfield depth. Trading away a captain is never popular, but at the moment Evra can’t be too concerned with the status quo as Red Bull GmbH pushes to rebuild the club.
If €375K for your captain works then €450K for a second choice LB looks really good, two teams were in on Algerian LB Ali Adbi and Hébert had to make the move. The team has been tracking a number of wing-back options, free transfers and loans, so making a big sale was almost a no-brainer on this one. Scouting Director Rachid Khalifa was working overtime since the moment Evra arrived with the club getting very aggressive on free transfers and loan signings. The tiny staff on hand, which ownership will look to expand in the future, looked all over France for young players who could add much needed depth to the squad and may have struck gold in a few instances. RW Wilson Isidor of AS Monaco was a huge snag for Evra, the teenager becomes an excellent option at either wing, and he’s very affordable so there is little pressure to play him over more established players. Crossing the English Channel to sign Fulham U-23 player RB Cody Drameh was also a solid grab for a rapidly dwindling wing-back depth chart. Both Isidor and Drameh have the best chance of getting starts, hopefully it won’t come to that but Evra feels good about the additions.
Can Wilson Isidor solve Evra's problems?
When it came to permanent signings Hébert had a very solid start with one major exception. The moment signing Yohan Cabaye seemed like an option reporters started swarming and the club faced some pressure from fans and the media to get things done. The hype was not commensurate with the reality of the situation, Cabaye was indeed willing to talk about a 1-year deal but once talks advanced it became clear this deal wasn’t going anywhere. Inside sources report that salary and agent fees killed the deal, one of the oddities of the situation was that Cabaye was acting as his own agent so the RB Paris board had an issue with the agent fees. In the end the club just couldn’t afford the deal and Hébert had to switch his approach to younger players, luckily for him things worked out much better than expected. Argentinian CAM Cristian Ferreira, available on a free, was a massive snag at a position the team was looking to improve and he has a chance at taking the starting job. At (25) he’s also young enough that he could bring stability for a number of years. Hébert stayed in South America for the clubs’ first big transfer fee with São Paulo CB João Paulo who, much like Ferreira, may have a chance to grab a starting spot. €75K was almost all of their initial transfer budget, but the pending sales of Mandouki and Adbi made €75K very affordable. Things got even easier when Marseille came in for RB Paris 2 midfielder Adama Barro, an offer of €81K for a player that had no place in the squad was a sitter for Hébert and Evra. A club with a long history of surviving on free transfers was suddenly able to invest in better players, while the sums are small the Red Bull touch is already obvious.
The final impact signing was CF David Faupala. Getting him on a free wasn’t easy with Red Star FC and Rouen also vying for his signature, but the opportunity presented at RB Paris was too much to pass up on. Faupala instantly enters the race for the starting CF spot while adding much needed depth to the attack. Youngster Lamine Diaby-Fadiga could also benefit from a veteran presence, even if he wins the starting job.
Senior / Major Transfers (Out)
Ali Adbi (LB, Kasımpaşa) €450K
Cyril Mandouki (CM, KV Kortrijk) €375K
Adama Barro (CM, Marseille) €81K
Thomas Garcia (RB, US Concarnoise) €23.5K
Didier Laurent (CB, Brest) €27K
Senior Transfers (In)
João Paulo (CB, São Paulo FC) €75K
Cristian Ferreira (CAM, Free Agent) €0
David Faupala (CF, Free Agent) €0
Manu Fuster (CAM, Free Agent) €0
Marcel Lavinier (RB, Free Agent) €0
Théo Sainte-Luce (CB, Nîmes) Loan
Wilson Isidor (RW, AS Monaco) Loan
Daylam Meddah (CM, Le Havre) Loan
Cody Drameh (RB, Fulham) Loan
Costinha (RB, Rio Ave) Loan
Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)