Repositioned as playmaker since the joint departures of Gaëtan Laborde and Andy Delort, Téji Savanier has established himself as the playmaker of Montpellier Hérault SC this season.
Montpellier Hérault SC's new captain Téji Savanier (29 years old) is showing some simply breathtaking early-season form in his new playmaker's role under coach Olivier Dall'Oglio. With two goals and four assists in nine Ligue 1 Uber Eats appearances, the former Nîmes midfielder - who signed for his hometown club Montpellier in 2019 - is carrying his team as much with his efficiency as his influence on the game.
Creator and finisher
Positioned a little higher up the field since the departures of Gaëtan Laborde (Stade Rennais FC) and Andy Delort (OGC Nice), Téji Savanier now has even more responsibilities in the development Montpellier's game going forward. Dall'Oglio has entrusted his strategist with the keys to the game - a real No. 10 role - behind the likes of Englishman Stephy Mavididi and newly signed second striker Valère Germain.
And he is playing his new role in masterful fashion. Savanier is third in Ligue 1 Uber Eats in terms of the number of chances created this season (50), with 26 shots attempted and 24 passes leading to a shot. In this ranking, he is behind only Kylian Mbappé (58: 38 shots and 20 passes leading to a shot) and his former teammate Andy Delort (51: 32 and 19).
A natural leader
With the departures of Laborde and especially Delort - briefly the team's captain and old partner in crime - Savanier's leadership role in the team and at the club has grown, much to the delight of club president Laurent Nicollin, who is 100% behind the hometown hero.
As is coach Dall'Oglio: "Téji has the dimension to be the boss in the middle of the park. He also takes to heart his role as captain and leader. Some notable departures left a space, but he is quickly filling it."
The boy from Gély, a gypsy enclave in the heart of Montpellier, is rising to the challenge presented by his new role, and his teammates appreciate the importance of what is happening.
"I am not surprised by his investment, nor by his quality. He feels a lot of pride to be captain. This armband is a symbol for the club, the city and what he represents here," said fellow midfielder Jordan Ferri, who has worked with Savanier for three years. "He hasn't changed, but his repositioning has made his game evolve. By being closer to the opponent's area, he will be even more decisive than in the past."
For two years under former coach Michel Der Zakarian, Savanier shared middle of the park with Florent Mollet (who has now been moved out wide) and played as a box-to-box midfielder - a role that involved much more defensive work and a lot more energy - but now Savanier is much freer to express his creativity as a playmaker.
"I think it's the position that suits him best," explained Dall'Oglio. "He is freed from defensive tasks."
Endowed with silky skills and just as capable of playing in small spaces as he is of stretching the game with pin-point long passes, Téji Savanier is currently in career-best form - bringing out the best in his teammates and bringing smiles to the faces of the Stade de la Mosson faithful.