Author’s Note: Since this article was published, Bordeaux have been reinstated in the second tier, rather than the third.
Not long ago, Bordeaux were one of France’s elite teams. The likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Bixente Lizarazu, and more played for the six-time French champions. In 1996, they reached the final of the UEFA Cup—now the Europa League—where they lost to Bayern Munich. And in 2009, they won Ligue 1.
In recent years, however, the historic club have fallen on hard times. Well, that’s an understatement: last season Bordeaux were relegated to France’s second tier before financial issues meant they were sent to the third tier. Unsurprisingly, players are now forcing moves away from the club, with Bordeaux losing key figures such as Sékou Mara. However, they risk losing more as the transfer window continues. Here are some players who could leave this window.
Hwang Ui-jo, 29, Striker
Ui-jo is almost guaranteed to leave. One of Bordeaux’s highest earners in the prime of his career, Ui-jo has every reason to exit the club, with reported Premier League interest. He’s simply too good to stay in the third tier, and with South Korea in the World Cup, Ui-jo needs to be at a higher level to be called up. Last season he scored eleven goals in Ligue 1, almost twice as many as Lionel Messi.
I recommended him for Nottingham Forest in an earlier post, but Nottingham have since brought in a striker so that looks unlikely.
M’Baye Niang, 27, Striker
Another player fighting for a World Cup spot, this time with Senegal. Niang has long been pegged as a potential superstar, signing for AC Milan at age 17. Unfortunately, things haven’t quite gone his way, with injuries playing a huge role. He still has shown flashes of potential, including scoring the winner against Poland in the 2018 World Cup. Niang can’t afford to waste time in France’s third tier.
Niang has been linked with multiple Ligue 1 clubs and looks set to stay in France.
Josh Maja, 23, Striker
Josh Maja looked like Sunderland’s savior in 2018, scoring prolifically in the first half of Sunderland’s League One season. However, he chose to leave midseason: a big mistake for the at-the-time 20-year-old. He scored more goals that year for Sunderland (14) than he has for Bordeaux since the move (12). Loans to Stoke and Fulham haven’t helped.
A season in the third tier would help Maja’s confidence, but he needs a fresh start. The English Championship is a likely destination.
Alberth Elis, 26, Winger
Despite their financial situation, Bordeaux still made the transfer of Alberth Elis permanent—some sources say that Bordeaux had an obligation to make his loan permanent. Regardless, Bordeaux shelled out almost $7 million for Elis, who will likely leave this offseason. Last year, the forward scored nine goals and contributed one assist.
Elis has been linked with multiple Premier League clubs.
Jean Onana, 22, Midfielder
Onana was one of few bright spots for Bordeaux last season. The young midfielder had a breakout season, finishing with an impressive 57 successful tackles, the ninth best in the league. The high-energy midfielder also showed his capabilities on offense, with three goals and two assists.
AC Milan are reportedly interested, having purchased prospect Yacine Adli from Bordeaux last year.
Relegation can destroy a club. Teams might be forced to sell assets while losing revenue from no longer being in the top flight, which can make it difficult for clubs to gain promotion. In Bordeaux’s case, it looks even worse: being relegated twice in one year seriously harms their chances of convincing players to stay. Things could get worse before they get better.
Image Courtesy of Supporterhéninois, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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