Niang seeking Rennes reboot
Mbaye Niang will form part of the Stade Rennais FC attack at Amiens SC on Wednesday with the aim of striking a winning chord with the Breton club.
Just 23, the pacy forward is already wearing the seventh different shirt of his professional career. After emerging as a promising youngster at Caen, Niang joined AC Milan in 2012, but only fleetingly made an impact at the San Siro.
Loan spells with Montpellier Hérault SC, Genoa, Watford and Torino meant his talent stagnated. The latter club saw enough to sign him on a permanent basis, but then allowed him to return to France on yet another loan deal.
"There was Leganes and other offers, notably fom Galatasaray, who tried to convince me right up to the last day," said Niang, who opted for a season at Roazhon Park. "I had in mind the idea of kickstarting my career, and I wanted to follow that logic by coming into a league that I knew and in a team that had worked well last season. I have tip-toed in to try and get people talking about me on the pitch and to establish myself long-term."
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Niang's career has not taken off the way many predicted when he broke into the Caen side as a wide-eyed teenager. He sees the switch to Brittany as not a step backwards, but rather as the move forwards that he needed.
"I played in Italy for a number of years, I did what I had to do at a big club, and I showed that in big matches I could stand up and be counted," said Niang, who played and scored for Senegal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but has yet to get off the mark for Rennes after three appearances.
"If some say I've dropped down a bit after Milan by coming to Rennes, I don't agree. I've not come to relaunch things at a small club, but at a club that can harbour some good ambitions."