With just under a week of the transfer window remaining, the majority of French football lovers are left feeling one of three sensations. Either they are excited by the potentially late influx of new players into their chosen club; or they are downbeat because they know their club does not have the financial means to improve their current squad or worse, will have to continue to offload players in these final six days; or they cannot wait for the transfer window to close and and are infuriated by the actions of certain agents, players and clubs which have directly affected the team they support.
In short, there are three emotions fans are harbouring in the final days of a window: excitement, frustration and desperation.
Charles Stone takes a look at an incident which really opened up his mind over the past week.
AC Ajaccio have begun this season’s campaign limply. Something that struck me was the manner in which their flamboyant Italian manager Fabrizio Ravanelli has gone about attempting to manage his team in these first three games. The confrontational style he uses in an attempt to focus his players look as if they are already backfiring. Adrian Mutu has already taken visible offence to being shouted at by his manager after the Romanian’s performances on the pitch against Saint Etienne earned him a bollocking.
The distinct lack of managerial experience that Ravanelli is obvious and evidently certain key individuals in the Corsican side’s squad do not appreciate the way they are treated. Furthermore, it is embarrassing for the image of the club when the man who represents them most in public fails to control his feelings on the touchline.
Many fellow French football pundits will fail to notice this because Ajaccio’s obvious failings were masked by their supposed heroics against PSG in week 2 when they picked a point after having only being able to muster up one shot during the entire game. The fact that they were so weak going forward should have got greater press coverage than it did and instead they focused on how heroic the Corsican side looked after tying with the Ligue 1 champions.
Frankly, it was mainly down to a brilliant performance from Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa but Ravanelli was happy to take the plaudits. Last weekend, Ajaccio faced a Nice side and deployed some of the most negative tactics I have seen in France’s top flight in recent times. Yes, France is widely known for playing conservative football at the best of times but this was different. The team was set up to shut Nice out and made no attempt to open them up. The probably inevitable ‘nil-nil draw’ proved to be the outcome in a frustrating match.
If Ravanelli is able to instill these more defensive minded tactics into the heads of his players and obtain results in this manner then there is hope for the Corsican side. However, if he fails to do so and instead continues to stomp around the touchline in such a barbaric manner I find it hard to believe he will have a job for much longer.