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It is Max Gradel’s world and Toulouse are living in it … dangerously

The Ivorian has been sensational since returning to Ligue 1 from the Premier League and losing him would be disastrous

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

With modern football characterised by intensity and collective ideals, for a team to be completely dominated by one player is rare. But few clubs across European football are as dependent on one man as Toulouse are on Max Gradel. After years of scrapping a Ligue 1 existence via miraculous escapes and relegation play-offs, the potential loss of the Ivorian this summer could signal disaster at the Stade Municipal.

Talismanic status is not new for Gradel. Before a misadventure with Bournemouth, his time at Saint-Étienne under Christophe Galtier, now coaching Lille, focused on one thing: qualifying for the Champions League. Ligue 1’s most successful ever club, Saint-Étienne are a proud and historic outfit with a raucous fan base, but forays into Europe’s premier club competition have been rare of late. With Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and others gone, Gradel became the epicentre of Les Verts’ hopes.

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