This afternoon marked the first signing of the Ligue 1 transfer window, with Stade Rennais F.C. announcing the acquisition of Swedish international Jakob Johansson until 2020. The defensive midfielder is joining on a free from AEK Athens, as his contract with the Greek club was up at the end of the season.
Johansson brings with him experience both domestically and internationally, having appeared in six European matches and eight Super League matches this season, as well as having 15 caps for the Swedish national team to his name.
The midfielder’s performances for his nation have been decisive, with his crucial goal against Italy in November punching Sweden’s ticket to the World Cup.
Unfortunately, Johansson will not be bearing the fruits of his labour, as a severe anterior cruciate ligament injury kept him from contention for Sweden’s 23-man World Cup squad.
The same ACL injury, suffered in November, limited Johansson to just 14 appearances for AEK this season. However, as noted in Stade Rennais’ announcement, the combative midfielder served as captain for the Greek club. The Swede’s arrival will surely replace some of the leadership Rennes lost with the recent departure of Yoann Gourcuff.
While not appearing in a competitive match since the 13 of November may make acclimating to France and Ligue 1 more difficult, Johansson is unlikely to have lost the qualities that make him a special player. His determination, ambition, and leadership can be expected to ensure his success at the Roazhon Park.