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Metz lost 11 of their first 12 games this season – but might just stay up

Metz looked lost before Christmas but, with four wins in their last six games, they are threatening to pull off a great escape

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

2017 was a difficult year for Metz. They just about managed to avoid relegation last season, despite having the worst defence in Ligue 1, and their dealings in the summer transfer window suggested they would be in another dogfight this year. The club has a history of developing players – such as Miralem Pjanic, Sadio Mané and Robert Pires – and they unearthed another gem in Ismaïla Sarr last season. The young Senegalese attacker moved to Rennes for €17m in the summer but Metz hardly re-invested that money, with Philipp Wollscheid’s arrival from Stoke City for €2.5m their biggest signing of the window. Crucially, they failed to retain the services of Cheick Diabaté, who had scored eight league goals in 14 games last season while on loan from Turkish club Osmanl?spor.

There were a few other arrivals in the summer – including Nolan Roux, Emmanuel Rivière, Cafú and Julian Palmieri – but none of them have ever excelled in Ligue 1. The talented but inexperienced centre-back Moussa Niakhaté joined from Valenciennes but, in addition to the losses of Diabaté and Sarr, veteran midfielders Georges Mandjeck and Cheick Doukouré also left for greener pastures, leaving the club’s well-liked manager, Philippe Hinschberger, to deal with a massive churn of players.

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