FC Lorient: Ligue 1’s busiest club in the January transfer window

With the recent arrival of a new American shareholder in the shape of Bill Foley’s Black Knight Football and Entertainment (BKFE), FC Lorient have reaped the rewards of a fruitful transfer window this January. They were Ligue 1’s most active club for departures and arrivals.

Foley’s presence in Brittany brings fresh capital to Les Merlus, but with the lucrative departures of both Terem Moffi and Dango Ouattara, the club ultimately closed their transfer window in profit. Ouattara moved to Premier League club AFC Bournemouth, also owned by Bill Foley, for €22m plus €5m in potential add-ons. A short while later, and after six rejected offers, Moffi took a loan move to OGC Nice for €2.5m with a mandatory purchase option of €22.5m and €5m in potential bonuses.

The clubs’ supporters may miss their two forwards, from whom they registered a total of 18 goals and six assists during the first half of the season. But the club has demonstrated its ambition by bringing in six new arrivals, such as Bamba Dieng, Romain Faivre, and Jean-Victor Makengo. Dieng registered a total of seven goals and three assists across 25 matches for Olympique Marseille last season, while Faivre had 10 goals and five assists across 35 matches for both Brest and Lyon in the same time frame. Midfielder Makengo, who arrived from Serie A’s Udinese, has previous experience in Ligue 1 at Caen, Nice, and Toulouse. Across 76 appearances in the French top flight, he contributed to 18 clean sheets and scored three goals.

On deadline day, Les Merlus also acquired the services of Lyon goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck, as well as Paris-Saint-Germain prospect Ayman Kari, on loan until the end of the season with an affordable option to buy. While Norwegian youth international Joel Mvuka initially failed his medical at Lorient, he was nonetheless bought from Bodø/Glimt and loaned back to the Norwegian side until the end of the season.

Currently sixth in Ligue 1, Lorient’s highest finish in French football was seventh in the 2009/10 season. While it has yet to be seen whether their new investments will help to bring in a record league finish, it is clear that the club’s deeper pockets may usher in a new era for the club. Already in profit this window, and with the demonstrable financial backing of BKFE, Lorient are poised to flex its muscles in the coming seasons further. Whether new money will bring in new successes, the second half of this season – and, indeed, future seasons – will tell.

GFFN | Brendan Cox

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