L1: Fofana, the X factor of an already orphaned Lensois environment

L1: Fofana, the X factor of an already orphaned Lensois environment

Attractive 7th in Ligue 1 last year, Lens is betting on continuity but the departures of executives worry him: keeping the coveted captain Seko Fofana would reduce the extent of the reconstruction of the midfielder, already orphaned by Cheick Doucouré.

The offseason has neither altered the footballing qualities nor the moral values ​​of Fofana. Facing Inter Milan, in a friendly (1-0, July 23), the Sang et Or midfielder recited his score. The very one that made him one of the very best players in Ligue 1 in 2021-2022. The 33,000 supporters of Bollaert-Delelis were thus able to reassure themselves. Yes, the captain of the artesian vessel is indeed concerned by the upcoming exercise.

However, the departure of the Ivorian international seemed almost certain last May. By the absence of the European Cup, by the feeling that a cycle was closing in Artois, by, finally, his statements after the draw against Monaco (2-2, May 21): “Staying at Racing? It doesn’t all depend on me. It depends on a lot of things. We will talk quietly. Lens will always remain in my heart. I had a lot of fun. I grew up and I took on responsibilities. .” A farewell message?

As feared, several key players have already left. Those who allowed him, twice, to aim for Europe at the end of the breathtaking season: striker Arnaud Kalimuendo returned to Paris SG, right-back Jonathan Clauss recruited by Marseille, and in the middle, Cheick Doucouré, the friend de Fofana sent to Crystal Palace.

Will the Ivorian follow? Such a loss would cause fans to break out in a cold sweat. But, a few days before the resumption of the championship, the mining club can still count on its leader.

– “Desires and ambitions” –

“I’m happy to be here, to be able to train and progress in this preparation,” he confided in early July, on the sidelines of a 3-0 friendly victory against Valenciennes. However, he was reserved about his future: “We are in a transfer window period where there is a lot of reflection. We all have desires and ambitions, whether here or elsewhere. Like qualifying for a European Cup. Europe or play it elsewhere with another club.”

Even if there is still more than a month, and as many possibilities for the conditions for a departure to be met, keeping Fofana could simplify the work in the middle.

A reconstruction that goes through the constitution of a complementary pair, at the height of the combative rake that was Doucouré. Salis Abdul Samed ticks all the boxes and his opening minutes have impressed. The ex-Clermontois displayed a striking resemblance to his predecessor, both in his positioning, in his approach and in his style of play.

In any case, Franck Haise has four elements: Fofana, Samed, Patrick Berg and Lukasz Poreba. “We work daily with different associations”. If the Norwegian and the Pole leave as substitutes, the cards could be reshuffled in the event of the departure of the first named. “It will be up to them to seize their chances,” the coach recently launched on RMC.

A radio where he also confided in the Fofana case, which will undoubtedly agitate the month of August in Lensois: “Today, he is at RC Lens. I affirm it to you and confirm it to you. Afterwards, he rest of the time. What is certain, as I have been saying for a few weeks, Seko is very motivated, very invested in the preparation, with the team, the club. I am certain of that.”

And the certainty, by keeping the one who played 73 matches (12 goals) in all competitions with Racing, to have an essential argument in the quest for Europe …

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