SCO Angers – Olympique de Marseille (L1, 9th day): In attack, OM drags the ball of its transfer window

OM could really have expected worse. Approaching the recovery after the first international break with the same status as last spring, that of runner-up to PSG, was far from obvious in the heart of summer. Not everything was perfect, no surprise for a club that changed coaches and style of play in the off-season. The Marseille defense, the second in L1 (5 goals conceded), responded frankly well given the significant departures recorded in this sector. But the situation is not the same in attack. With 16 goals in 10 matches in all competitions, OM could show a better attacking performance.

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There is no danger in delay. But some reason to be alarmed for a team that has only found the net three times in its last four outings. The causes are multiple. The management of the case of Dimitri Payet returns to the heart of the debate as the Reunionese has been raining and shining on the Canebière in recent years. Gerson’s underperformance is no stranger to the phenomenon either. But the problem is also in the finish. And it was quite predictable as the transfer window left OM helpless in this area, beyond the departures of Arkadiusz Milik and, to a lesser degree, Cédric Bakambu.

Sanchez still hides the misery

Marseille has not yet fully paid the consequences. And he owes it in large part to Alexis Sanchez. The doubts about the Chilean were however legitimate. His ability to string together, given his advanced age, his status as a luxury joker at Inter and the playing time that entails, was far from guaranteed. The former Barcelona player, OM’s top scorer this season with four goals, has given satisfaction since his arrival this summer. Even in a leading attacking role which is not his preferred position.

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The question is whether it can last. Already very much in demand by Igor Tudor, Sanchez also played the two Chilean matches in their entirety during this international break. The rest is a marathon of 11 matches in 44 days for Marseille, from Friday’s trip to Angers to the duel against Monaco on November 13 at Louis-II. Igor Tudor has every interest in managing the playing time of his Chilean striker as his presence has been crucial since the start of the season. But the problem of the Marseille coach is that he does not really have the means.

Suarez is not (yet?) an option

The beginnings of Luis Suarez could suggest otherwise. The striker who arrived from Granada for 10 million euros had signed a thunderous first with a double off the bench, certainly full of success, for his first match against Reims (4-1). The 24-year-old Colombian then looked like a discovery of Pablo Longoria, the president of the Marseille club, renowned for his ability to find good deals on the transfer market. But less than two months later, the budding enthusiasm for his potential has given way to doubts about his real level.

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Not surprisingly. The recruitment of Suarez responded more to the logic of preparing for the future than to have a goalscorer capable of having an immediate impact. His CV was in line with this. Despite 62 La Liga matches before his arrival at OM, the Colombian still lacks experience at the highest level and remains in a legitimate phase of adaptation to a new championship, within a club with higher requirements. Its insufficient performance must therefore be put into perspective. But the conclusion remains the same. Suarez can’t be considered a reliable option for OM’s attack, at least for now.

Dieng, a symbolic comeback?

This leaves Marseille faced with its shortage in attack, and the Olympian management in the need to remedy it to live up to its ambitions. She could radically change strategy with Bamba Dieng in this regard. The departure of the Senegalese striker, Marseille revelation of last season with 7 goals in L1, however seemed to be recorded. It took an incredible scenario on the last day of the transfer window, and the failure of his medical visit to Nice, for the 22-year-old not to leave La Canebière. Without the conflict with its leaders being really settled. And without really being part of Igor Tudor’s plans.

More forced than anything else, Dieng’s comeback is taking shape. Tudor had already started it before the truce. “He actually had a complicated summer, that’s the wordthen recognized the Marseille coach. He’s a wonderful, kind person, he’s as good as good bread. He trains with us and is now part of the group.” This reinforcement that Marseille needs so much in attack could thus be a player from whom the Marseille club wanted to part as a priority. The paradox may make you smile. But OM have arrived at this point to no longer drag out their transfer window a cannonball.

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