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How Lille OSC Transformed Themselves



The effect Lille OSC have on players’ development

In a League dominated by PSG in the past decade, domestic success has been limited for other teams in the league. Lille started out the decade by winning the 2011 Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double led by Eden Hazard and under Rudi Garcia. This was the first major silverware at the club in 56 years since their last league triumph.

Since then LOSC have been more interested in producing and developing young players and selling them to bigger clubs for good profit. While also maintaining an eye on the Champions League spot and domestic cups. Players that left the club in the early 2010s include Hazard, Lucas Digne, Lichtsteiner, Gervinho and Aubameyang, who had joined the club on a loan deal from AC Milan.


Downfall with Marcelo Bielsa and Antonetti

After Lille managed to stay in the upper half of the league table for the first 5 years of the decade, in the 2016-17 season under Frederic Antonetti, Lille fell down to the bottom of the table which led to Antonetti being sacked halfway through the season. They recovered under caretaker manager Patrick Collet and finished the season in 11th place.

The following season Marcelo Bielsa was appointed as the new head coach and upon arrival, he fully transformed the team, terminating contracts with many of the veterans including Rio Mavuba, Eder, and Vincent Enyeama. Bielsa’s idea was to replace these players with younger talents such as Pepe and Kevin Malcuit. This decision however led to controversy and the results were not pleasing as well as Lille had a major goal scoring problem.  With the team fighting in the relegation spot, Bielsa did not last until the new year and was officially sacked in December 2017 with Christophe Galtier as his replacement.


Lille’s comeback under Galtier

Galtier managed to keep Lille in Ligue 1 in 2017-18 winning 3-2 against Toulouse on the second to last day. Lille only managed to avoid relegation with 1 point with that massive victory, Galtier was then to stay at the club for another season.

In the 2018-19 season Lille displayed performances that were the complete opposite of the football that was played under Bielsa. Nicolas Pepe leading the attack along with newly signed Bamba and Ikone resulted in Lille’s best finish in the league since 2011, standing in second place only behind PSG, whom they beat 5-1 in the return leg.

The standout performance of the clubs’ young players, Pepe, El Ghazi, Thiago Mendes and Rafael Leao led to them being sold for more than €150 million making a huge profit for the club.

LOSC used a portion of the money acquired from these transfers to bring in another set of players including Renato Sanches and Victor Osimhen. The latter of the two was sold to Napoli for €60 million becoming the Italian clubs record signing.

The man who is to be credited for the club’s recent success is Luis Campos, the director of football of Lille. He has managed to keep the team in form to compete for the top spots in the league while also profiting from transfers to Europe’s biggest clubs.


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