LOSC's record signing Yusuf Yazici could make his Ligue 1 Conforama debut at home to Nantes on Sunday afternoon.
LOSC - FC Nantes
The Turkish international became LOSC's record signing when he completed his move from Trabzonspor for a fee estimated at 16.5 million euros plus Edgar Ié. Presented to the press on Wednesday, Yazici said: "Of course you think about the fee but I'm going to do all I can to justify it."
Versatile, Yazici can fill a number of positions in attack, although he feels most at home as a playmaker. He says he's over the foot injury that sidelined him for a week before his arrival in northern France and, having trained with his new teammates, is in contention to feature against Les Canaris. Asked whether he'll start in Week 1 Yazici smiled and said: "That question needs to be asked to the coach."
Yazici joins fellow Turkish international Zeki Celik at LOSC and revealed the right-back was influential in his decision to come into French football. Yazici commented: "We spoke to each other a lot and he played a role in my arrival."
In a good-humoured first encounter with the French press, Yazici was asked where he was when LOSC came to Trabzonspor in September 2011 for a UEFA Champions League game that finished in a 1-1 draw. He laughed and said: "I was a ball boy!"
Yazici is not a like-for-like replacement for Nicolas Pépé, who left for Arsenal in an 80 million euro move, but will have to chip in with goals and assists to make up for the Ivorian's departure as well as that of Rafael Leao, who has joined AC Milan. President Gérard Lopez said: "You don't replace Nico Pépé with Nico Pépé. To do that you'd have to spend 80 million. You replace Nico Pépé with players who have talent such as Nico had when he came to us two years ago."
Lopez sets targets, Collot interim Nantes coach
Second place last season was a magnificent achievement for a club that narrowly avoided relegation in 2017-2018. So what can we expect of LOSC in 2019-2020? Lopez said: "In France, PSG are in a different category and then there's Lyon who have a good team and are listed on the stockmarket. Behind those two there's not much better than what we're doing. I'm not going to say we'll finish second. All that I will say is that we'll do everything to perform well in Ligue 1 and put in a Champions League game that's far from ridiculous in order for LOSC to be respected internationally."
Nantes moved quickly to replace Vahi Halilhodzic, whose last game on the bench was the club's final pre-season friendly against Genoa, as they appointed Christian Gourcuff on Thursday. The 64-year-old coach is a more than familiar face in the region having previously coached Rennes and Lorient and was available after leaving Al Gharafa in May. Gourcuff said: "Nantes has always represented something. In the past I was close to joining the club but it didn't happen. When President Waldemar Kita called me, this was something I owed him. I'm very happy to have signed here."
LOSC: Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Djalo, Reinildo; Ikoné, André, Soumaré, Bamba; Weah; Osimhen
Nantes: Lafont; Fabio, Pallois, Wague, Traoré; Rongier, Girotto, Touré; Coco, Coulibaly, Moutoussamy