Ligue 1 Uber Eats venues were allowed to welcome up to 5,000 supporters last weekend, and the LOSC Lille fans lucky enough to attend their team’s game against Stade Rennais FC were looking forward to their first glimpse of star new signing Jonathan David.
The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports caught up with a number of LOSC fans outside the Stade Pierre-Mauroy and they were all expecting big things from the young Canadian forward, who was signed to replace Napoli-bound Victor Osimhen.
“He’d better not disappoint us” and “he needs to hit the ground running” were some of the comments about the player who cost the northern outfit a reported initial fee of €27 million. He is following in the footsteps of Nigerian star Osimhen but also Nicolas Pépé, who left for Arsenal a year ago.
“People always talk about this but I just try to focus game by game and focus on what I can control,” David said.
The former Gent striker was full of energy early on against Rennes, making some good runs in behind the defence and closing down opponents. He saw little of the ball, though, as the visitors’ backline got to grips with Lille’s new number nine.
Highlights: Lille and Rennes draw on David's debut
“When you play, you always want to be involved in a game, to touch the ball but this is part of the job,” David said later.
Nevertheless, his presence helped create space, which Jonathan Bamba exploited to put Lille ahead five minutes before half-time.
'Everything is going to click'
David kept on plugging away after the break, but his team-mates will clearly need more time to get on the same wavelength as him. He was replaced by another new signing, Burak Yilmaz, on 64 minutes and, despite a quiet debut, David was given a warm ovation from the home fans.
“Jonathan needs to work on his understanding with the others and needs to get up to speed physically as well,” said Lille coach Christophe Galtier.
David added: “With more training, we are going to get to know each other better and with time everything is going to click.”
Lille’s most expensive recruit could only look on from the stands as Rennes equalised and returned to Brittany with a point from a 1-1 draw. It was not the easiest of baptisms for David, but Galtier has every faith in the young forward.
“He needs to be himself, to focus on the team and on his own game, and everything will be fine,” Galtier said.