Ligue 1 news

Labrune happy with OM transfers

July 25, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Marseille president Vincent Labrune said the club had achieved their objectives in the summer transfer window so far, adding that he still hoped to add Joey Barton to the squad.

Having said they wanted to reinforce their ranks with home-based talents, OM have added Dimitri Payet from Lille as well as young prospects Benjamin Mendy from Le Havre and Giannelli Imbula, one of the main reasons for Guingamp's promotion back to Ligue 1 last season.

Labrune told the press he was delighted to have brought in the trio as well as keeping mainstays of the team that clinched a return to the Champions League by finishing as runners-up to PSG.

"For the moment, we're around halfway through the transfer window, " he said. "There was a double objective. Firstly, in the first part of the window, we wanted to keep our key elements who were most in demand, namely Steve Mandanda and Nicolas Nkoulou. That's the case.

"The second was to inject youth and talent into the team. Today, the coach, [sporting director] Jose [Anigo] and I are satisfied with the arrivals of Dimitri, Benjamin and Giannelli."

Labrune also added that "there was likely to be another arrival between now and the end of the window". Barton, 30, could be that arrival, having impressed during his season-long loan spell from Queens Park Rangers.

However, Barton has yet to negotiate his way out of his contract at Loftus Road, meaning the deal is in limbo.

Labrune said: "We appreciate 'Jo', and we made him an offer in May for him to continue his adventure with us. Having said that, we're not the ones in control. He belongs to QPR, and we can't speak about a player who belongs to another club."

The latter statement has not always applied to OM, however, given their public courting of Florian Thauvin and Romain Alessandrini over the summer.

The latter, who signed a four-year contract with Rennes a year ago and earned a France call-up before a knee ligament injury curtailed his season, has made no secret of his ambition to join the club he watched as a youngster.

Rennes, however, have said they have no interest in selling the Marseille-born attacking midfielder.

"They're saying to the boy: 'You've changed status, you're an international, we don't want you to fulfil your dream at OM' but they're not proposing him a different future at Rennes," Alessandrini's agent, Yvan Le Mee, told Le Phoceen.

"We want Rennes to position themselves clearly. And if Romain is not happy with that, he has to be left the possibility of not missing out on the chance of joining OM. His family, playing at the Velodrome — it's his dream since he was very small.

"He knows that OM can speed up his return to the French team. With the World Cup coming up, if he doesn't hitch himself up to the right wagon, it'll be difficult. By playing in the Champions League with Valbuena, Payet, internationals, he'll move closer to the national side."


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