Mercato Round Up

Rennes badg

Mercato Round Up

With the summer transfer window now closed, we summarise the comings and goings at le Stade de la Route de Lorient.


New signings

Olivier Sorin

Age: 33

Position: Goalkeeper

Previous Club: AJ Auxerre

Bought For: Free

Quote: “It’s an interesting challenge.  I have already experienced Ligue 1 in the past.  I know Paul George Ntep, Axel Ngando and Zana Allee with whom I played with at Auxerre last season.  I want to meet all the objectives that the coach will set the group.” – Olivier Sorin

Benjamin Andre

Age: 24

Position: Defender

Previous Club: AC Ajaccio

Bought For: Free

Quote: “I already followed him when I was at Boulogne.  He started playing in Ligue 1 with Ajaccio very young.  All observers of football will tell you that he is a very good player. He is versatile.  I’m going to play him at right back because I think he really has great potential.  I think he has all the characteristics to emerge as right back.  There will be competition with Romain Danze. It is essential to have two players for each position. We found this out late last season with the departure of Emerson.” – Philippe Montanier

Fallou Diagne

Age: 25

Position: Defender

Previous Club: Freiburg (Germany)

Bought For: €1.50m

Quote: “Stade Rennais is a recognised club.  When I was asked to come, I did not hesitate.  Many Senegalese have played for the club such as Kader Mangane and Moussa Sow.  They had some great seasons here.  I spoke with Gelson (Fernandes).  His first impressions of the club are good.  I have to prove myself because I have not played in Ligue 1.” – Fallou Diagne

Edson Mexer 

Age: 25

Position: Defender

Previous Club: Nacional (Portugal)

Bought For: €2.20m

Quote: “I am excited to join Stade Rennais.  It’s a dream for me to play in Ligue 1.  I hope to defend the colors of the club with the greatest of success.” – Edson Mexer

Gjoko Zajkov

Age: 19

Position: Defender

Previous Club: Rabotnicki Skopje (Macedonia)

Bought For: Free

Quote: “It’s hard to find new central defenders at a very high level.  He is a young defender who is already playing for Macedonia.  He is very good technically and in the tackle.  He is a modern central defender.  We are happy to have him with us because a lot of big clubs were interested in him.  He was attracted to our project.  Stade Rennais FC is a good intermediate club that knows how to integrate youth.  These parameters led him to join us.” – Philippe Montanier

Gelson Fernandes

Age: 28

Position: Midfielder

Previous Club: Freiburg (Germany)

Bought For: €1.60m

Quote: “I’m glad I’ve now joined.  It was my choice to join Stade Rennais.  It’s a challenge that is exciting and I am ready for the challenge.  There is a very good team that is far from having exploited its potential.  I was also attracted by the club facilities.” – Gelson Fernandes

Christian Bruls

Age: 25

Position: Midfielder

Previous Club: KAA Gent

Bought For: €2.20m

Quote: “We followed Christian for a long time.  In particular, we already started discussions last spring.  He is a player that is technically very comfortable and also has a lot of heart.  He is also able to take set pieces. Last season in Nice, he was very consistent in his performance.” – Philippe Montanier

Sanjin Prcic

Age: 20

Position: Midfielder

Previous Club: FC Sochaux Montbeliard

Bought For: €1.00m

Quote: “I am very pleased to sign for the club.  Everyone has welcomed me very well.  This is the beginning of a new phase for me.  Here, all the conditions are met to advance and enrich me.  Stade Rennais has always been a very good club.  It is capable of playing in Europe.  I do not know them personally but I know there are experienced players who are able to guide the younger ones.” – Sanjin Prcic

Pedro Henrique

Age: 24

Position: Midfielder

Previous Club: FC Zurich (Switzerland)

Bought For: €1.00m

Quote: “Shabani Nonda, who played for Zurich and Stade Rennais has said positive things about the club.  I also know that there have been several Brazilians to play here.  I have heard from many that Alexander Frei had great success at the club.  I saw the match against Paris Saint-Germain and I was impressed with the level of the game.  Even though I know Stade Rennais had a difficult last season, there is a good potential.  My first goal is to get to know my new teammates and make my way into the team.  I want to progress at Stade Rennais and try to help the club to have a good season.” – Pedro Henrique

Habib Habibou

Age: 27

Position: Forward

Previous Club: KAA Gent

Bought For: €2.00m

Quote: “He is able to play up front or on the wing.  He has power and speed.  He also has a lot of experience.  He does not come to replace Ola Toivonen as he is versatile and they can play together.  These are tough positions.” – Philippe Montanier

Philipp Hosiner

Age: 25

Position: Forward

Previous Club: Austria Vienne (Austria)

Bought For: €1.90m

Quote: “He is a striker who scores goals.  He is very generous and combative in harrassing the defenders.  He is a pure centre forward.  It’s hard to appreciate the difficulty of the Austrian championship.  But when you see how he played in the match against Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League, he was at an international level.” – Philippe Montanier



Tiemoue Bakayoko – sold to AS Monaco for €8.00m

Romain Alessandrini – sold to Olympique de Marseille for €5.00m

Jonathan Pitroipa – sold to Al-Jazira for €3.00m

Dimitri Foulquier – sold to Granada for €2.80m

Julien Feret – released (SM Caen)

John Boye – released (Kayserispor)

Cheikh N’Diaye – released

Abdoulaye Diallo – loaned to Le Havre

Sadio Diallo – loaned to Lorient

Cheick Fantamady Diarra – loaned to AJ Auxerre

Cedric Hountondji – loaned to Chateauroux

Wesley Said – loaned to Laval

Pictures courtesy of and


News and Updates – 27 August 2014

News and Updates – 27 August 2014.

Transfer News

The club has completed the signing of Senegalese centre back Fallou Diagne from German club Freiburg.  The 25 year old has joined les Rouges et Noirs on a three year deal.  He will wear the number 14 shirt with “Fallou” on the back.  Diagne played for the Bundesliga team for two seasons and enhanced his reputation with scouts from teams such as Schalke taking a look at him.  He has experience of playing in France having spent over three seasons with Metz in Ligue 2.  He will join up with his former Freiburg teammate Gelson Fernandes.

Diagne: “Rennes are a recognized club.  When I was asked to join, I did not hesitate.  Many Senegalese players have played in Rennes such as Kader Mangane and Moussa Sow.  They had some great seasons here.  I spoke with Gelson, his first impressions of the club are good.  I have to prove myself because I have not played in Ligue 1.”

Philippe Montanier: “In the centre of defence, we have two experienced players with Mexer and Sylvain Armand and two younger players with Cedric Hountondji and Gjoko Zajkov, but we wanted an extra player.  He has been followed for many years by the club.  He is a French player with good athleticism.  Gelson Fernandes told us about him before he arrived.  He gave us good information about the man and the player.”

The arrival of Diagne, as the clubs tenth signing this summer, could now lead to a number of the younger players being sent out on loan to Ligue 2 teams for game time and experience.  These players could include Zana Allee, Adrian Hunou and Wesley Said.  Hunou has been linked with a move to Ajaccio, Laval and Clermont.

One youngster who has gone out on loan already is Cedric Hountondji who has joined Ligue 2 side Chateauroux on a season long loan.  The loan deal contains no option for purchase for Chateauroux so that should mean Hountondji will come back to les Rouges et Noirs will a full season of Ligue 2 football under his belt.  A good deal all round.

Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik, who has been relegated to the reserves the last few weeks, could finally be on his way out of the club.  He had previously been discussing a move to Italian club Palermo.  In the last few days though these talks have stalled.  L’Equipe now report that discussions have begun with English side West Ham United.

France Football have claimed that the club are looking to open talks with Yoann Gourcuff about as possible move back to Stade Rennais.  His wages and injury record may prove a stumbling block however.

Montanier told Ouest France that recruitment is “95% complete” but he still remains on the lookout for potential deals before the close of the transfer window.

Ouest France also report that Jean Makoun is hopeful of successful negotiations with another Gulf based club after talks broke down with UAE club Al-Fujairah.

Squad News

Kamil Grosicki has returned to training with the first team whilst Benjamin Andre and Axel Ngando trained separately.

Sega Coulibaly has been called up to the French U19 team for a mini-tournament in Serbia in early September.  They will play matches against the host nation and Ukraine.

Benoit Costil has picked up his award for best Ligue 1 goalkeeper for the 2013-14 season as voted for by France Football.  A well deserved winner!


In a rare interview, club owner Francois Pinault, has spoken with French newspaper Ouest France whereby he discussed his commitment to the club and his thoughts on financial investment.

“Every time one of my managers asked me for money, he got it.  It was perhaps not the best solution.  There is a new cycle, which begins with a management team that knows the business.  The money is not enough. We still need to learn other things. To finally take that step.  Creating a “bling-bling” team does not interest me.  This does not correspond to the UK.  I prefer solid guys on the field.”

Pinault, who has experienced more disappointment than joy with Rennes, also tells Ouest-France how he was in New York during the last Coupe de France final, where the club lost to Guingamp (0-2) again in May 2014, “we were on the 41st floor of a building and I was convinced we were going to finally win it.  We could not lose two finals in a row against the same opponent.  Fortunately the windows do not open in the towers …” joked the businessman.

It Is Alive! Our Return, Catch Up and Weekend Preview

Hello all, finally the blog is back! It’s been a while and I can only apologise for that!

Anyway after a busy summer, a whole new group of players have left and been brought in.  Rennes opened the league campaign in very disappointing fashion.  The 4-2-3-1 with captain Romain Danze really failed to ignite any positives in the 2-0 defeat to Lyon.  Pedro Henrique had a decent showing on debut and arguably should have won a penalty but it really was a game to forget for les Rouges et Noirs.

Come Week Two and it was all change.  With Danze back in familiar right back territory, Gelson Fernandes brought in for his first start and Paul-Georges Ntep left on the bench so his explosive talent could be introduced later in the game, Rennes came out all guns blazing against Evian Thonon Gaillard.  Taking the lead through Ola Toivonen, who was back to his hustling, bustling best, Rennes looked dangerous with every attack.  Defensive fragility was still clear to see, as demonstrated by the complete lack of marking for Daniel Wass’ equaliser.  Shortly before half time it turned into the Edson Mexer show.  The Mozambique centre back showing a knack for the spectacular finish following a Danze cross as he volleyed home from the edge of the area.  He doubled his tally shortly after, rising highest to head home a right sided corner.

The second half followed in similar fashion.  Toivonen got his second from another Danze cross, although there were suspicions of handball from the Swede.  The Ntep experiment worked to great effect as he was brought on (albeit earlier then anticipated following an injury to Kamil Grosicki).  The youngster demonstrated his pace and skill in the second half as he collected the ball 30 yards from the Evian goal, he ran at the heart of the defence and thanks to some generous defending, found himself in the area and able to colly slot home to open his account for the season.  The sixth goal followed shortly after as Toivonen and Abdoulaye Doucoure combined well to set up Ntep on his own in the penalty to sweep home into the top corner.  Wass was again allowed far too much time and space in the Rennes box as he got his second but it was merely a consolation.

Whilst the goalscorers took the bulk of the headlines, there were great performances from Danze, he’s a much better right back than midfielder, and Fernandes who slotted in as protector of the defence with ease.  He was a calm presence that mopped up numerous loose balls and allowed the other midfielders and attackers to push forward confidently.  A great home debut.

A 6-2 win was far beyond any fans dreams, and how nice it was to hear the home faithful in joyous cheering, something that was heard far to infrequently last season.

So this Sunday, Rennes face another tough away trip, this time to undefeated Saint-Etienne.  Les Verts have made a great start to the season and in former Rennes forward Mevlut Erding, have the leagues most in form striker with three goals in the opening two matches.  Rennes must pay close attention to not only him but dangerous creative players such as Romain Hamouma, Max-Alain Gradel and Kevin Monnet-Paquet who supply Erding with his chances.  If Rennes can keep those quiet then there is a chance against les Verts.  Rennes drew this fixture 0-0 last year and must look to use attack as the best form of defence.

With Grosicki nursing the injury picked up against Evian, Ntep could find himself back in the starting XI.  Other than than it would be a tough call for Philippe Montanier to make any further changes.

This, therefore would be my predicted starting XI for the game against Saint-Etienne:

ASSE formation

I’ll go with a draw as my match prediction.  I’d love to know your thoughts ahead of the game on Sunday.

It’s good to be back and we’ll have the full match review on Monday.

Allez les Rouges et Noirs!

News and Catch Up

Just some points of interest from the last week as I’ve been away recently.

Week 33 – Stade Rennais 0 AS Monaco 1

A dogged performance from Rennes was not enough as big spending Monaco left Brittany with all three points.  Benoit Costil was yet again a stand out performer being called into action a number of times in the first half with saves from Joao Moutinho, Emmanuel Riviere, James Rodriguez and Layvin Kurzawa.  Romain Danze had the only effort on goal for the home side.

The deadlock was broken 10 minutes into the second half as Jeremy Toulalan fed Riviere before the striker fired home across Costil.  Shortly after Costil was again at his best to deny Riviere a second goal with another quality save.  Rennes lacked a killer instinct and were missing that bit of quality in the final third despite Ola Toivonen again proving a handful.  Costil’ heroics were not enough as the final whistle blew and the match finishing 1-0 to the men from the principality.

Coupe de France Semi-Final – Stade Rennais 3 Angers SCO 2

Rennes do love to cause their fans some worry.  Going into the match as favourites, it only took two minutes for the Ligue 2 side to take the lead through Mohamed Yattara.  Despite coming back with three goals through Ola Toivonen, Kamil Grosicki and Jean II Makoun, a last minute Yattara penalty ensured a nerve jangling finish.  Nevertheless Rennes held on and booked their place in the Stade de France showpiece on Saturday 3 May.

In the final they will come up against local rivals Guingamp after they pulled off a surprise win over Monaco.  On paper it means Rennes arguably go into the final as favourites and in the frame to end their barren trophy-less run.  However two clear concerns present themselves; i) Rennes have lost twice to Guingamp this season in the league, and ii) this is a repeat of the 2009 Coupe de France final – it didn’t end well for Rennes.

All things considered though, I think most Rennes fans would agree Guingamp would have been the preferred opposition for the final so the best thing to do is keep everything crossed, hope the team turns up on the day and look forward to a place in another cup final.

Week 34 – AS Saint-Etienne 0 Stade Rennais 0

It sounds like I am repeating myself here but yet again Benoit Costil proved the hero for Rennes as he put in another outstanding display for les Rouges et Noirs.  It was a strong performance from the entire defence as they were without captain Romain Danze (hamstring injury) and lost Cheik M’Bengue int he first half to injury.  Steven Moreira and Cedric Hountondji showing again they have quality beyond their  years.

The first half passed without any significant action and only seemed to spring into action after the break as former Rennes forward Mevlut Erding found himself free in the box.  His first time toe poke though brought the best from Costil as he produced an instinctive diving save low to his left.  When Costil was beaten, by a Romain Hamouma header, the effort was ruled out for offside.  Benoit Tremoulinas, Moustapha Bayal Sall, Renaud Cohade and Loic Perrin all had efforts but either failed to hit the target or could not beat Costil.

Without the injured Toivonan, who was suffering with a foot injury, Rennes lacked an obvious goal threat but leaving the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with a point is nothing to be ashamed of.

News in brief

– Five Rennes players made French Football Weekly’s Le50, a list of the best 50 young French based players.  Tiemoue Bakayoko, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Cedric Hountondji, Adrien Hunou and Axel Ngando made the list.  It is well worth a read and you can download Le50 for free Give French Football Weekly a follow on twitter at the following accounts: and

– Ola Toivonen is in the running to be Ligue 1 Player of the Month for March – vote for him here:

– For those unable to get Coupe de France final tickets, the match will be shown via big screen at l’esplanade Général de Gaulle

– Finally today (19 April) is Wesley Said’ 19th birthday.  Félicitations Wesley!