Initial reports which broke in the last hour have now been confirmed by Bein Sport that Mickael Landreau has terminated his contract with immediate effect, resulting in him walking from a struggling Lille team.
The 33 year old French goalkeeper has vast experience in Ligue 1 and has played for his country 11 times. Early reports suggest that an on going rift with manager Rudi Garcia escalated in the last few days, resulting in Landreau not featuring in Lille’s 1-0 loss to Valencia in their final game of their UEFA Champions League campaign. For whatever other reasons, it seems clear that Landreau and Garcia have had their differences and it has culminated with the player leaving the club immediately.
One thing is sure, Lille have had a difficult start to the 2012/2013 season. Performances which could only be described as embarrassing in the Champions League, coupled with inconsistent league form which sees them currently sit 10th in Ligue 1. Despite having enough big names, especially in the attacking positions to push for a top 4 finish this season, the results are simply not there. Players like Marvin Martin and Salomon Kalou who were signed in the summer just haven’t made the impact that Garcia and the fans would have been hoping for.
The change of stadium has not helped the club either. Due to the new location, less fans seem inclined to go and support LOSC week in, week out. Landreau has time and time again produced stunning saves which have quite simply won Lille points. Points that he will no longer win them. He is a natural leader, something that Lille will now miss. Mavuba was for many a strange choice of captain at the start of the season, and has hardly proved that he can martial the troops so far.
Landreau certainly left on his own accord. It would have been suicidal and ludicrous for Garcia to terminate the goalkeeper’s contract. A manager who is already under vast amounts of pressure, a situation like this will only worsen his credentials.
There is no doubt that other Ligue 1 clubs will look to profit from this situation. In the short-term, Sochaux will hope that this sudden occurrence improves their chances of getting a very necessary win, when they entertain Garcia’s boys on the weekend. Thinking longer term, reports already emerging that a whole host of European clubs are interested in snapping up Landreau who is now a free agent.
Perhaps the only positive to gain from this shocking development for Lille is the fact that they have an impressive 2nd choice keeper in Elana, who would have expected to be playing more games since arriving from Brest over the summer.