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FEATURE | Guess Who? Footballers edition – the ghost that is Queensy Menig

While FC Nantes were in tense negotiations with Marseille over the transfer of Valentin Rongier on the final hours of summer transfer deadline day last week, it was another player of Les Canaris that caught our attention.

He is a 24-year-old striker from the Netherlands and in surprising turn of events joined Nantes in 2017 in the dying embers of the summer window, just 24 months ago. He has trained with the reserves throughout and is still yet to make an appearance with the first team. Can you guess who this player is? No? Don’t worry he’s a mystery for Nantes fans too and even for the employers of the club…

His name is Queensy Menig, after last minute talks between a non-registered agent  called Abdallah Lemsagam and Nantes owner Waldemar Kita, the Dutch youngster signed a contract until 2022 for €400k from Ajax Amsterdam, but he immediately went on loan to then League One club Oldham Athletic.

The Sun actually dedicated an article to him back in 2017, on a series of events which has been described a number of times as strange and incomprehensible. Journalists even wrote the title: ‘Amsterdam to Oldham, one of the strangest journeys of the transfer window has been completed’. So what actually went on behind this transfer ?

First let’s talk about the player himself. Queensy Menig played for the Ajax youth set-up  and made his debut for the first team in 2014 in a cup game. He also won international caps with Holland U17, U19, U20 and U21 levels. He enjoyed two successful seasons on loan at PEC Zwolle right before joining Nantes.

A pretty promising start to a professional football career, don’t you think? This is where the fascinating story of a young player who was once seen as a great up-and-coming talent in Dutch football takes a turn into the clutches of the sports business and skullduggery.

Abdallah Lemsagam convinced Nantes President Kita to sign a young talent coming from the famous Ajax academy. It is suspected than Lemsagam informed Kita that selling Menig on in a few years time would make him millions. At the same time, Kita’s son, Franck, who is also a member of Nantes’ board, was unconvinced by the player and did everything to push back against Lemsagam, whom he reportedly viewed as a crook. Despite Franck’s warnings, his father agreed to sign Menig until 2022.

If he was such a fantastic up-and-coming talent, then why was he loaned to Oldham?

Now you might wonder why a player from Ajax,  famous for progressing talented footballers through their academy into their first team left, to actually be loaned to a third English division club, Oldham Athletic. The answer is not actually difficult to understand. Mr. Lemsagam, who negotiated the deal for Menig to Nantes, is in fact the president of Oldham. However the loan turned out to be a complete fiasco. The Dutchman only made few appearances for the English club, as he clearly failed to perform close to the required standard, and his attitude off the pitch was criticised, all while he was earning one of the club’s highest salaries at £11k a week! Menig then came back to Nantes but went on loan once again, this time to his former club PEC Zwolle, which was also a total failure.

Since coming back to Nantes after these two disastrous loans, Menig has been training with the reserve team, only making one official appearance with them in 2018. He certainly had hope when previous coach Vahid Halilhodzic offered him the chance to train with the first team to see if there was any potential for him to reach the top. However once again, he didn’t perform at the required standard and the reserves’ coach Pierre Aristouy told French media 20 Minutes in April 2019: “He’s at FC Nantes, but we don’t know why he’s here…”

When signing Menig from Ajax, Kita either thought he signed a youngster with a lot of talent and great potential to play at the top level, or he was doing a friend an underhanded favour. Unfortunately it is not the first time that Nantes have bought players in suspicious or surprising deals. This also hammers home a structural problem at the club, which holds an abnormal number of players under contract, despite them neither playing for the first or reserve teams. It looks like Queensy was just one of the so-called ‘lofteurs’, a term which refers to the players who are unwanted, but still hanging around, who go unseen like Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (who also left Ajax for Nantes in 2015 and has now signed for a Swedish club), Yassine El-Ghanassy (who has now been loaned to a Saudi club) or Joris Kayembe.

Yet for Menig, local reports now suggest that his contract has been terminated with the yellow and green. This has also been confirmed by Dutch newspapers, with FC Twente announcing the player’s signing just today on a 2-year contract. However, there has been no official announcement by Nantes. It seems that Menig has now left the club in complete anonymity… Fitting, really.

J.L.

 

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