Three years after the "Champions Project", OM returns to earth before facing PSG

Dario Benedetto against Strasbourg, October 20, 2019. JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER / REUTERS

It was just three years ago: on October 17, 2016, Frank McCourt became the new owner of Olympique Marseille (OM). Six days later, after promising speeches, his new club was looking for a near-hopeless draw at Parc des Princes against Paris (0-0). What nourish the hopes of a club weaned titles for seven years.

Three years later, OM still has not won titles. Neither of matches against the PSG. And while the club Marseille occupies the fourth place in the ranking of League 1, here it is at the yard of a series of complicated games, which begins with the "classic" between Parisians and Marseillais, Sunday, October 27 (21 hours) , closing the 11e day of the championship of France.

Read also Ligue 1: OM, champion of the projects

It is an understatement that the OM does not really go away. "Paris is a team that is not from this League, And last week André Villas-Boas, the new OM coach, was warned. We will try, but it's not a game that matters too much for me. "

"Be in the top 3 every year"

Since their 3-0 win in November 2011, the Olympians remain on sixteen defeats and three draws against their favorite rivals, who come out of a victory 5-0 in the Champions League, against Bruges. A competition in which OM has not participated for six seasons and a pitiful elimination at the end of the group stage.

The record is far from the promises made by Frank McCourt when he arrived in October 2016. "My number one goal is to be in the top 3 of Ligue 1 every year, he was going then. The number two goal is to win the Championship more often than not. Goal number three is to win the Champions League. We have to do it in order. "

In three seasons, OM did not finish on the podium once and never played the Champions League. Against the teams that finished on the podium (Monaco, Paris and Nice in 2017, Paris, Monaco and Lyon in 2018, and Paris, Lille and Lyon in 2019), the result is starved: a win, three draws and fourteen defeats.

His best European experience ended on a slap in the final of the Europa League (3-0 against Atletico Madrid in 2018), and today the club is not engaged in any European campaign.

200 million euros spent

Frank McCourt quickly regretted his initial exits. But too late. His first statements put a little too high hopes of observers and supporters Olympians who dream of a new title since 2012.

It will probably not be for this season, at least in the league. The goal today is the podium. André Villas-Boas, however, had to settle for a limited transfer window. For the 200 million euros promised over four years by Frank McCourt on his arrival have been squandered in three years under Rudi Garcia, the previous coach, with transfers not always successful.

Read also At OM, the time of the big maneuvers

All this money spent, as well as the little received in return and the shortfall with the non-European qualifiers, mean that OM is now closely watched by UEFA and its financial fair play because of accounts "large deficit".

This explains why the club has "degreased" this summer. Players such as Mario Balotelli, Lucas Ocampos, Luiz Gustavo, Clinton Njie, Rolando, Aymen Abdennour or Adil Rami have gone elsewhere.

"Financial fair play or not, our financial trajectory was no longer sustainable. A club is not a dancer or a gadget, it's a business. Jacques-Henri Eyraud, club president

"Fair-play financial or not, our financial trajectory was no longer sustainable over such a long cycle, a club is not a dancer or a gadget, it's a company", estimated Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the president of the club, in July. "We do not have money," had regretted the Marseille coach at the beginning of the season.

Accustomed to animate the mercatos, the OM was satisfied with three recruits this summer (including a loan) and must now deal with a limited workforce. Especially since Florian Thauvin, his best player for two seasons, has been injured in his right ankle since August and should not be back before the start of the year 2020.

Added to this absence were Dimitri Payet (suspended four games) and young Boubacar Kamara (suspended three games), who became an indisputable holder in central defense.

Read also Ligue 1: Marseille and the misclassified are rebelling

In such conditions and after ten days, OM is not doing so badly. If the club is already eight points behind the PSG, he had, at the start of the eleventh day, a lag behind Reims, third, and three on Nantes, second.

But the calendar looks complicated. After Paris, Marseille will go to Monaco in the Coupe de la Ligue, before receiving Lille, then Lyon in the league: a first test in the race for the podium.

PSG – Marseille, Sunday 27 October at 9 pm (Canal + and live on


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