This week, RC Lens is preparing for the first official game of the season. If the transfer window will not close as usual until a long time after the start of the championship (September 1 at 11 p.m.) and the workforce could therefore change, the latter is not lacking in assets. A short overview, as we approach the big meeting on Sunday at Bollaert against Brest.
The gardians :
Brice Samba, Jean-Louis Leca, Wuilker Farinez, Yannick Pandor.
We expected to witness the passing of the baton between Jean-Louis Leca and Wuilker Farinez but an unfortunate event changed the situation. The Venezuelan was injured in the selection and will be missing until the end of the year. RC Lens went looking for a number one goalkeeper and it was Brice Samba who arrived from Nottingham Forest. Racing will therefore be able to attack the season with 2 safe bets in goal. The former Marseille player will start as a starter and has already shown good dispositions during the preparation matches. With Jean-Louis Leca, who played his first minutes with the reserves after a broken finger, and Wuilker Farinez when he returns to long-term competition, the goalkeeper position is more than enough provided. One can even wonder how the roles will be distributed once Wuilker Farinez is operational. Behind, the young Yannick Pandor will continue to learn.
Christopher Wooh, Kevin Danso, Jonathan Gradit, Facundo Medina, Steven Fortes, Adrien Louveau, Massadio Haïdara.
Three profiles stand out: Jonathan Gradit, Kevin Danso and Facundo Medina, who made up the “typical” defensive trident last season and we can easily guess that Franck Haise is counting on them, especially given the progress made both collectively and individually by this guard during the last season. Progress that the friendly matches have rather confirmed. Behind, RC Lens can always count on a Christopher Wooh who also gained momentum during last season. Able to troubleshoot at 3 positions, it has gradually asserted itself as a solution of choice after a somewhat timid start last year. Steven Fortes, returned from a loan in Ostend, should rather move towards a departure as soon as a way out is found. There are still other options: Massadio Haïdara, the left side that Franck Haise has already called on several times in defense and the young Adrien Louveau, interesting when he was asked during preparation.
Przemyslaw Frankowski, Massadio Haïdara, Deiver Machado, Ismaël Boura, Jimmy Cabot, Charles Boli.
Perhaps the most questionable positions less than a week before the start of the season. Not worth a headache though. Franck Haise saw Jonathan Clauss leave. A player who statistically weighed 11 assists and 5 goals last season. Should we therefore expect from his successor on the right the same statistics so as not to regress? The solution may also involve more variety in the Lensois game, but the potential candidates to succeed him are in any case of quality and could also surprise in terms of stats if the mayonnaise takes well. RC Lens wants to have 5 pistons for the 2 positions. He relies mainly on Jimmy Cabot, who arrived from Angers this summer and Przemyslaw Frankowski on the right side, while on the left, Deiver Machado, Massadio Haïdara or even Ismaël Boura are part of the solutions. To these 3 there is added Przemyslaw Frankowski who was the holder in their lane last season. A kind of happy unexpected at the time since he had been recruited to double Jonathan Clauss. Difficult to know which players will clear and it would not be surprising to see more rotations.
On the right, will Przemyslaw Frankowski take advantage of the departure of Jonathan Clauss to win or will the place be more often for Jimmy Cabot, a little less advanced in the preparation but who had shown very great qualities in this register in Angers before being injured last season? Otherwise, the Pole may recover his place on the left side, but beware: Deiver Machado seems to be gaining strength there. In the continuity of interesting coming into play at the end of last season, the Colombian has accumulated playing time on the left by producing, on the whole, rather interesting performances. Massadio Haïdara has the particularity of representing the most defensive solution, even if he has progressed offensively since the first attempts of RC Lens in 3-5-2. A profile apart in the quota of pistons. Also note the presence in the workforce of Charles Boli, for whom a way out is sought. Franck Haise has considered it as a credible solution as a piston in recent seasons, a position in which the interested party did not feel expressed, preferring to opt for loans, at Paris FC then at Vicenza. The outcome should be the same this summer. If we dig in the youngsters, the Koto Camara midfielder, tried during the preparation, could also help out in the event of a carnage.
The environments :
Seko Fofana, Salis Abdul Samed, Lukasz Poreba, Patrick Berg.
A sector that has evolved a lot this summer. Cheick Doucouré left for Crystal Palace, one of the major departures of the summer. RC Lens has bet on Salis Abdul Samed, from Clermont, to succeed him alongside Seko Fofana. One of the biggest question marks of the coming month regarding the transfer window, but still waiting there, and 100% concerned. Salis Abdul Samed showed interesting dispositions. Very present in recovery, up to the task in intensity while perhaps waiting to be able to play a heavier role in building the game forward, he appears to be the number one choice at this stage to take over from Cheick Doucouré in the starting XI. It is on the choice that Lens seems better armed this year. For 6 months, Yannick Cahuzac, at the end of his career, appeared to be the only solution to breathe life into the Fofana-Doucouré duo. Then if the former Bastiais was still there and scratched a few entries at the end of the year, Patrick Berg mainly took over as a number during the second part of the season. The latter is still there and must now move upmarket after 6 months of adaptation, but he has also been joined by the Polish Lukasz Poreba. The 22-year-old international hopeful will first take on the role of rotation player, but the minutes played this summer have shown that he was capable of playing a role of blaster in the middle, with great activity, pleasant ease. ball at the foot and a good quality of pass. Promising.
The offensive sector:
Florian Sotoca, Wesley Said, Loïs Openda, Ignatius Ganago, Adam Buksa, Ibrahima Baldé, David Pereira Da Costa, Gaël, Kakuta.
Big competition ahead. Corentin Jean, who rarely started but came into play regularly, flew to Miami and Arnaud Kalimuendo, who scored 12 goals last season, returned to PSG, but RC Lens does not seem to have weakened. He hit hard by recruiting for 10 million euros Loïs Openda, Belgian international under contract in Bruges and who has just finished 2nd top scorer in the Dutch championship (18 achievements) with Vitesse Arnhem. In any case, he has the potential to do at least as well as Arnaud Kalimuendo. It remains to be seen how confidence will go. In any case, he seems perfectly complementary to a Florian Sotoca or Adam Buksa, over whom hovers a small gray area: injured with Poland, he did not have the opportunity to take advantage of the preparation to integrate into the Lensois game. Expected to return in a few weeks (September?) How long will it take to be able to display its qualities?
If we tend to quickly bet on recruits to share playing time, especially in view of the financial investments made by Lens to recruit Buksa and Openda, it would be wrong to see the other players as elements destined to play a role. rotation. Florian Sotoca proved essential in many ways last season and his swiss army knife side, to the point of being able to work on recovery, pleads for him. Adam Buksa will not dislodge him like that. Wesley Saïd demonstrated last season that he could be very effective when physical problems spare him. If it smiles on him more this year, it will be all good for Lens. As for Ignatius Ganago, his qualities are well known, at least when he is confident. However, its future remains uncertain as the competition looks ever tougher. A loan from young Ibrahima Baldé is also considered. Finally in the offensive sector, a young player will be closely watched, in terms of animation: David Pereira Da Costa. He showed good dispositions at the end of last season. Its status has changed. But Gaël Kakuta, his sidekick, mentor, and competitor at the same time, although they can also play and shine together, is still there and before a physical glitch at the end of the preparation, he appeared to be in rather good shape. Spoiled for choice for Franck Haise!