Christophe Galtier Lille hands

Hop on the Ligue 1 managerial merry-go-round

Publish on 05/05/2021 at 13:07 - A. SCOTT


Will Christophe Galtier still be in charge at Lille next season? Who might replace Rudi Garcia at Lyon? And where will Montpellier turn to for a successor to Michel Der Zakarian? looks at the many managerial changes in the offing…

Confirmation last weekend that Der Zakarian will leave Montpellier Hérault SC in the summer came after the recent announcement that Stéphane Moulin will depart Angers SCO, while Thierry Laurey is expected to part company with RC Strasbourg Alsace too. Even clubs at the top of the table could be on the lookout for a new man in the dugout.

Rudi Garcia out, Galtier in?

Galtier has done a marvellous job in his three and a half years at LOSC and he could cap it with the Ligue 1 title, as Lille lead Paris Saint-Germain by a point with three games of the season remaining.

The northern club’s performances on the field have been all the more remarkable given the turbulence behind the scenes, with owner Gérard Lopez selling up in December to the Merlyn Partners investment fund, and recruitment guru Luis Campos moving on while a new president came in.

Rudi Garcia Lyon Montpellier

“I am very happy here, but I don’t think I will do seven or eight years like at Saint-Etienne,” Galtier said in a recent interview with AFP. “I have already been here for three and a half years and a new project means going again for a few more years.”

Whether or not they win the title, Lille are likely to be in the Champions League next season but they are almost certain to sell some key players and it remains to be seen whether they will retain as strong a squad. Galtier, who has another year to run on his contract, will therefore be weighing up all possibilities, and he has options.

Garcia is out of contract at Olympique Lyonnais and is expected to depart the Groupama Stadium even if he leads the team to a top-three finish and a return to the Champions League. In that case Galtier, despite his Saint-Etienne connections, is a leading contender to replace Garcia. He knows Lyon and their president Jean-Michel Aulas having been assistant coach to Alain Perrin in their double-winning season in 2007-08.

“I would like to confirm that there has been no contact with Mr. Aulas or with (sporting director) Juninho,” insisted Galtier last month.

Ambitious Nice

However it has been suggested that Galtier could be tempted even further south, with ambitious OGC Nice also searching for a new manager. The Romanian Adrian Ursea, who replaced Patrick Vieira in December, will not be kept on and Nice, owned by the British group Ineos, are looking for a big name to front their project.

Any new coach coming into the Allianz Riviera will be backed in the transfer market, and Nice already have some exciting young players like France Under-21 star Amine Gouiri and Denmark striker Kasper Dolberg. They have also been linked with Pedro Martins, the Portuguese coach at Greek champions Olympiakos, and Peter Bosz, the former Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach who spent time in France as a player.

Teji Savanier, Michel Der Zakarian, Montpellier

Who will Montpellier turn to?

Der Zakarian’s reign at Montpellier is ending after four very respectable years in charge, which could yet culminate in success in this season’s Coupe de France. News of his departure did not go down well with star striker Andy Delort. “I enjoyed working with him and learned a lot from him. The club has progressed under him and the news has affected everyone,” Delort said.

So who will replace Der Zakarian at the Stade de la Mosson? It is believed the 2012 champions were keen on Bruno Genesio before he joined Stade Rennais FC in March. All indications suggest that they will move for a manager currently working at a rival club, with Christophe Pélissier at FC Lorient and Olivier Dall’Oglio at Stade Brestois 29 both linked to the job along with Laurent Batlles, who has led ESTAC Troyes to the brink of promotion to the top flight.

Reims have their man

Dall’Oglio, who is from the south of France and has another season on his contract at Brest, has also been linked with Strasbourg, where Laurey is expected to leave after five years at the helm. Brest, though, will be hoping to retain the services of a coach who also did well previously at Dijon FCO.

There is no doubt at all that there will be a new man in charge at Stade de Reims, where David Guion is departing after a successful four-year stint and the Spaniard Óscar García will replace him, club president Jean-Pierre Caillot confirmed last month. Former Celta Vigo coach García will be hoping to last longer than in his last experience in Ligue 1, when he had a five-month spell at AS Saint-Etienne in 2017.

Stéphane Moulin Angers pointing

Moulin: An enormous void

Guion, meanwhile, has already been linked with Angers, where Moulin will leave an enormous void as he moves on following a remarkable 10 years in charge. The club’s sporting director, Sébastien Larcier, recently revealed he had a short-list of “four or five names”.

Another club where there is some uncertainty in the dug-out is Girondins de Bordeaux. It remains to be seen if the veteran Jean-Louis Gasset will stay for a second season in charge given the difficulties on and off the pitch at the Matmut Atlantique this year. It has been suggested that he could be tempted to go back to his hometown team Montpellier.

Watch this space.

>> NEWS: Óscar García to replace David Guion at Reims

>> PROFILE: A salute to Stéphane Moulin's 10 years at Angers

>> LE BEAU JEU PODCAST: Listen to the official Ligue 1 podcast in English