Rising Star: Josuha Guilavogui
One of the revelations of last season, Josuha Guilavogui played an integral part in Saint-Etienne's excellent campaign... his all-action midfield displays helping Les Verts finish fifth and win the League Cup.
The tall, athletic and cultured 22-year-old operated as a box-to-box midfielder before moving back in to a holding position when Jeremy Clement got injured, his versatility proving useful to coach Christophe Galtier.
"I don't think I'm a real playmaker, I'm more of a defensive midfielder who is capable of springing forward... I like getting forward but my main role is to sit in... I enjoy trying to win the ball back and then, if I can, I join in the attack," he said.
A strong tackler and good passer, Guilavogui also chipped in with five goals last term, a tally he's hoping to improve on this time around.
"I'll try to get more... although Aubameyang's left and he’s the guy who was setting them up... hopefully I’ll get a service from someone else," he continued.
Much will now be expected of the Saint-Etienne youth product, who won his first France caps during the summer tour to South America. Several top European sides are keeping close tabs on Guilavogui, but the player himself insists he is happy at Saint-Etienne.
"I've talked to the coach and I'm 100 per cent committed to Saint-Etienne," he declared. "I wouldn't be comfortable telling the coach in January that I want to leave... when I start I season with a club I want to finish it with them too."
While Aubameyang has left, Galtier has strengthened by signing the likes of Franck Tabanou and Ibrahim Sissoko... as well as Benjamin Corgnet and Paul Baysse.
"We haven't determined our objectives yet, but when you've tasted success, and qualified for Europe, it makes you want more. For a club like Saint-Etienne it would great to be playing in the Europa League at the very least on a regular basis," he concluded.