Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Montpellier...Ligue 2 Champion in 2014!

So the defending Ligue 1 champion continues to sell off their best players. With Giroud and his 21 goals leaving this past summer to greener pastures of the EPL and Arsenal, now their young central defender Yanga-Mbiwa is also heading off to the EPL. He will be playing for the Magpies of Newcastle. Side note, the Toons are starting to get a real French flavor - Debuchy having come over this transfer season as well. They will join Cabaye, Marveaux, Obertan, Amalfitano and Ben Arfa in the north of England.

Might have looked good in Arsenal colors
But back to the defending Ligue 1 champions, they have also tried to sell off their best midfielder - Belhanda. Of course there is noise out of the south of France blaming the players and their agents for running from the club. The reality is that Montpellier is a small, regional styled club. The fact they won Ligue 1 was based in large part on their youth system and their ability to develop home grown talent. Everything came together last season to see them win the title. Let us not forget that they were in Ligue 2 not too long ago either. With their current fire sale, I think they might be heading back to Ligue 2 in a few seasons!

I think that Montpellier missed out on an opportunity, had they held on to their talent. Maybe even looked to add some mid-level talent they could have had some success in Europe. Maybe even fantasized of coming out of the group stages at the Champions League, or at least being competitive in the Europa League. Instead they seem to be treading water, hoping to stay up in Ligue 1, had no ambition in Europe.

Alas, this is endemic of Ligue 1, at least any team not named PSG or Marseilles - cannot afford to keep players once the club finds success (look at what happened with Lille).

Oh and...hey Wenger...why didn't the Gunners make a bid for the central defender???

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