Marseille’s dream of returning to the Champions League remains a fantasy

Marseille have already suffered six defeats in Ligue 1 this season – more than they lost in the entirety of last season

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

The Frank McCourt era at Marseille was not supposed to be like this. The American’s purchase of the club, combined with the arrivals of Rudi Garcia as manager and Andoni Zubizarreta as sporting director were all signs of true ambition. McCourt does not possess the bottomless wealth of the Qataris who run PSG, but he had big plans for France’s best-supported club. His model was success in the now; there was no suggestion the club would adopt Monaco’s buy-low-to-sell-high philosophy or show Lyon’s patience with academy players.

Marseille bought veteran, decorated players – Luiz Gustavo, Adil Rami, Dimitri Payet, Steve Mandanda, Kevin Strootman – as they focussed on the present, not some idealised future. However, nearly two years on, things have soured. Their 3-2 loss at Nantes on Wednesday evening was their sixth defeat in Ligue 1 this season; they only lost five league matches last season and even that wasn’t enough to earn a return to the Champions League, a stated aim of McCourt’s project.

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