Buidling Dreams Together


Marseille’s Daring Summer Offensive on the Ligue 1 Title

Olympique Marseille finished the 2022/23 Ligue 1 season in 3rd place with 73 points, qualifying for the Champions League.

However, they sat closer to 4th place than 2nd, with Lens taking 84 points, who finished one point behind title winners Paris Saint Germain.

Marseille also crashed out of European competition during the Champions League group stage. A late Tottenham goal left Marseille bottom of the group, resulting in them narrowly missing out on a spot in the Europa League.

Marseille continued solidifying their position as one of the top teams within the French league. Highlighted by improving their points tally from the 2021/22 season and retaining Champions League qualification. However, they will be looking to take things one step further in the 2023/24 season and challenge the likes of PSG for the Ligue 1 title…

Managerial Switch-Up

In June 2023, Igor Tudor revealed he would be stepping down from his position as Marseille’s head coach due to personal and professional reasons. Yet Marseille may have found their perfect replacement in former Valencia and Athletic Bilbao manager, Marcelino.

Marcelino joins Marseille after being out of work for a year, after leaving Bilbao at the end of his contract in June 2022. Marcelino joins having previously won the Supercopa de España with Athletic Bilbao in the 2020/21 season and the Copa Del Rey with Valencia in the 2018/19 season.

A Refreshing Summer 

Marseille’s transfer strategy this summer, on paper, has been shrewd and ruthless, with a total of seven departures thus far.

The likes of Saed Kolasinac, who made 33 appearances last season, left for free, while other players such as Arkadiusz Milik and Nemanja Radonjic rejoined the teams they were previously loaned to in the 2022/23 season on permanent deals. However, the most notable departures are that of Marseille’s 2022/23 player of the season Alexis Sanchez and club legend Dimitri Payet.

Both players have become free agents, with Payet’s contract terminated with a year left to run. This leaves holes on the attacking front as Sanchez leaves after making 35 appearances, scoring 14 goals and creating three assists in the league, along with Payet’s 24 appearances, where he scored four goals and assisted three time.

However, Marseille have found a balance via their incomings.

The likes of Ruben Blanco, Ruslan Malinovskyi, and Amine Harit have all rejoined the club on permanent deals, having all previously been at the club on loan during the 2022/23 season. 

However, accompanying these signings are the likes of Renan Lodi and Geoffrey Kondogbia from Atletico Madrid; Ismaila Sarr from Watford; Iliman Ndiaye from Sheffield United; and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Chelsea.

The most notable transfer of these is that of Iliman Ndiaye. The 23 year old joined for around €17 million, having impressed at Sheffield United tallying 76 appearances, 21 goals, and 14 assists across two seasons.

Along with this, the big-name signing of Aubameyang, who endured a tough season at Chelsea. During his time at the West London club, he made just 15 appearances and scored a single goal in the league, joins Marseille with a point to prove.

Pre-season Promise?

Marseille’s pre-season has been somewhat tame. They played a total of 4 games, winning two and losing two. Yet, this has been extremely important for Marcelino’s side, allowing him to implement his tactics and methods whilst ensuring new signings gain crucial game time.

Aubameyang, Sarr, Ndiaye, and Kondogbia all played during the side’s 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in their final friendly game.  

More treading water, or a step towards glory?

Marcelino and Marseille’s fanbase alike are hopeful that their strong summer transfer window and pre-season preparation will help close the 12-point gap between themselves and PSG.

Marseille’s league season begins with a visit from Stade Reims on the 12th of August. It will be interesting to see if their summer transfer offensive will pay dividends, as they bid for domestic and continental glory. However, the positive announcement of a trophy-winning manager in Marcelino and a proactive transfer window leaves Marseille in an encouraging place, heading into the 2023/24 season.

Closing the gap on PSG is always going to be difficult, but Marseille’s proactive summer dealings, paired with a winning-manager leaves cause for optimism amongst fans.

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