Movement at OM? After a false start under the orders of the short-lived Marcelino, new coach of Villarreal, the Marseille club, 10th in the Ligue 1 standings, after the recent defeat at Lens (1-0), is struggling to find its cruising speed under Genarro Gattuso . Both “disappointed”, “concerned” but “confident”, Pablo Longoria suggests that Marseille will move in the winter transfer window. “We will analyze with the coach the different needs that we could have, with our scouting team. With all this work together, and the financial analysis, we will seek to give our coach the greatest possible power to complete this squad,” indicated the Marseille president this Tuesday, on RMC. And added: “At some positions, we have digital needs.”
By then, OM will perhaps have appointed the former Moroccan international Mehdi Benatia, trained in Marseille without having worn its colors professionally, to the position of sports director. “He’s one of the people we spoke to, it’s true. He is a person who has a very high level. But at the moment, we have to discuss the situations a lot and try to analyze the feasibility of the project. This is why we still have to take time to announce the sports director,” explains Pablo Longoria, specifying nonetheless that there are “discussions with different candidates”.
Still, the Marseille management, and in this case Longoria, is considering in particular a reinforcement at the left-back position. “For his style of play, Marcelino had enormous confidence in Emran Soglo. For Gattuso's playing style, Soglo is a player with different characteristics. He has a lot of qualities, but he is a player still under construction, a 2005 player, explains Longoria. We must seek to strengthen ourselves because numerically, we must give flexibility to Renan Lodi but also to Michael Murillo. He is offering very good things, he gives us satisfaction when he plays in this position. We need to increase competition between the players in the squad, we have a numerical shortage in the squad today.” And ahead, OM having only scored 12 goals in 13 L1 matches? “It depends a lot on the strategy, you have to find the right profile with different characteristics. It's not the same type of profiles with Marcelino and Gattuso. We have to take that into account, with what the market can offer us,” he says.
In addition to his vision of the next transfer window, the former leader of Juve looks back on that of last summer. “I have to be self-critical, especially because one of the biggest mistakes I made was a lack of analysis of the difficulties of moving on from a system like that of Igor Tudor,” admits he, acknowledging having “minimized the impact of the transition from one style to another. For me it was very superficial. But a lot of players who continued with us had internalized this way of playing in an important way. The construction of a very organized collective as Marcelino wanted to do or as Gattuso wants to put in place is something that we took lightly. I thought the players' adaptation would be easier.
Note that Pablo Longoria is not worried about the modest statistics of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Vitinha. Regarding the first, the Spanish leader has “no doubt”, relying on “the number of opportunities he gets”. “I believe that it is the same Aubameyang that we saw in Barcelona but with a different context in which I am sure that he will emerge,” he continues, he who displays his “confidence in Vitinha”. “I believe a lot in its potential,” he still insists. “Aubam” has scored six goals and provided three assists since the start of the season (16 matches). Three goals and an assist to the credit of Vitinha (15 matches).