After the high profile departure of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to Borussia Dortmund alongside the fact that other striker Brandao is reportedly refusing to turn up for pre season training, next season’s Europa League participants have several issues they must sort out:
1) No Firepower:
There is simply no denying how integral Gabonese international Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was to last season’s campaign. He scored 19 goals and was a constant threat and spark for Les Verts. In truth, he is irreplaceable. The fact that Saint Etienne only managed to command a reported €15m fee for the player means they are unlikely to be able to find the quality needed to fill the obvious void.
2) Trouble on the Horizon:
Reports emerged earlier this week that SC Bastia will take Saint Etienne to court for approaching their player Wahbi Khazri without their permission. This could potentially lead to a drawn out court battle, although unlikely. Furthermore, President Romeyer has hinted that Saint Etienne’s financial position is currently unstable. ‘It is easy to lose say €9m a season’ he claims.
3) Uncertain Futures:
Having lost their crown jewel to Dortmund in Aubameyang, there is the distinct possibility that further departures could occur. Goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, who finished 2nd in the Football News Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year award last season has been linked with Italian sides as well as AS Monaco. When asked, he has remained coy on his future.
Next, Kurt Zouma has been approached by no more than 4 clubs already this transfer window and although his father has reiterated the player is likely to stay on for another season, doubts will begin to creep in. If a world class club comes knocking with regular first team action guaranteed, the player may force a move.
Outspoken striker Brandao has reportedly failed to turn up to the 1st days of pre-season training in an attempt to show his unhappiness at the club. The player’s contract runs out in 2014 and he has said he wants to make ‘one big move’ before his career is over.
4) Monaco Arrival:
AS Monaco’s ascension to Ligue 1 is only going to create more competition for the European qualification places next season and therefore limits Saint Etienne’s chances of a second successful campaign in a row in terms of silverware.