Summer is in full swing, but French football is about to resume its rights. Ligue 2 restarts on Saturday July 30, a week before the elite. The summer turmoil and in particular the uncertainty concerning Bordeaux, announced for a time in National 1 before being maintained in the second division, have already laid the foundations for an unprecedented season at all levels.
The upcoming transition from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 to 18 clubs will turn the competition upside down. Who will pull out of the game when others will drink the chalice to the dregs? Franceinfo: sport takes stock.
Saint-Etienne and Paris FC as favorites
The images of part of the public rushing onto the lawn, firecrackers and smoke bombs in hand, are certainly still in the minds of Saint-Etienne. After a chaotic season which will have seen the club go down for the first time in Ligue 2 since the 2003-2004 season, the men of Laurent Batlles, who arrived this summer in Forez, set out again to attack the elite with some advantages. If many players have left the ship, including Romain Hamouma, Arnaud Nordin and Wahbi Khazri, the new technician from Saint-Etienne has anticipated by seeking, from the start of the transfer window, experience (Anthony Briançon, Jimmy Giraudon) and safe bets of Ligue 2 (Dylan Chambost, Victor Lobry). With a much higher budget than the other residents, Saint-Etienne is naturally among the favorites for the climb.
>> Ligue 1: Saint-Etienne, the five acts of a season in the green hell
The Greens could be accompanied by a regular at the top of the table for several seasons, Paris FC. The Ile-de-France club remains on two eliminations in the playoffs for the rise in Ligue 1 and will once again be able to count on the experience of Thierry Laurey, accustomed to climbs with Strasbourg and already present last season. On the rookie side, Bruges winger Alimani Gory has been transferred permanently to the capital after a promising half-season. The former Montpellier resident and regular on Ligue 1 lawns Paul Lasne comes to strengthen the environment.
Metz and Sochaux as outsiders
Back in Ligue 2 after three seasons in the top flight, FC Metz has changed a lot in the off-season. Many executives left like Pape Matar Sarr, Vincent Pajot, but also Nicolas de Préville or even coach Frédéric Antonetti. But the Lorraine club is used to rebuilding, and to make the lift between the two divisions.
As for Sochaux, another big name in French football, its 5th place last season, at the gates of the Ligue 1 accession dams, left regrets but also whetted the appetite. Olivier Guégan, the new coach, dreams of doing even better than this best result since FC Sochaux Montbéliard evolves in L2, in 2014.
The question: where is Bordeaux going?
The scapular club saved itself administratively a few days ago, but is this the case sportingly? By having to get rid of some of its best players (Sekou Mara left for Southampton, Yacine Adli back on loan at AC Milan, Timothée Pembélé back on loan at PSG), Bordeaux has become impoverished while waiting to know the situations of Hwang Ui-jo (12 goals in L1 last season) or Alberth Elis (9 goals), two of the rare players to have distinguished themselves and whose market value is quite significant.
The transfer window is also just beginning in the direction of arrivals even if the passage of Bordeaux in front of the DNCG, Monday August 1, should condition the end of the summer of the Girondins while the championship begins this weekend. A real headache.
Annecy, Rodez and Pau, same fight
He is the Petit Poucet of the competition. 29 years after having rubbed shoulders with Ligue 2, Annecy is making its return to the second division. With the former Niçois who has become a globetrotter, Alexy Bosetti, the Haut-Savoyards will aim to maintain this season.
Pau and Rodez will also be in the same situation and seem, on paper, unarmed to be able to fight with the big teams like Saint-Etienne, Paris FC or even FC Metz.
The fact: only two climbs in the elite
The change is now. From the 2023/2024 season, Ligue 1 will increase to 18, thus causing the relegation of four clubs, for two accessions from Ligue 2. The accession play-offs are therefore put in brackets until the end of this period of transition. Ligue 2 will increase to 18 during the 2024-2025 season and will remain at 20 until then. For this, it will down four teams to receive only two climbs from the National.