This summer, Fulham have strengthened their squad with the transfers of Jean Michel-Seri and Maxime Le Marchand both from Nice.
The name of the former is well-known in the football world, targetted by Barcelona and Arsenal last season.
Le Merchand’s signing is more mysterious, though, and his move will understandably be overshadowed by the Ivorian, who cost a lion’s share of the £30 million package deal for the pair.
Nevertheless, he is a decent signing for a team aiming to bolster their defence ahead of a Premier League comeback.
RealSport have looked at what Fulham fans can expect from the Frenchman.
A versatile defender
Le Marchand is an experienced defender who could play as a centre back or a left-back. However, he started off his career as a midfielder playing in the prestigious Rennes academy.
Having been shifted in the youth ranks towards the left side of the pitch, the 28-year-old featured as a left winger as well as in the left-back role. Expect him to offer support for Fulham’s offensive line and cooperate well with the club’s young star Ryan Sessegnon.
Le Marchand found some regular playing time in Le Havre, a side he joined on loan in 2008, and moved to permanently the season after. In the end, he played for Le Havre 173 times and even wore the captain armband before moving to Nice.
During his three years at Nice, he was deployed as a centre-back or a full-back, providing versatility and a range of defensive options to the coach Slavisa Jokanovic in the wake of uncertainty over Tomas Kalas’ future.
Although Le Marchand’s first touch may cause Fulham problems on the Premier League level, he is a defender who reads the game well and excels in ball interception. He also can hold on to the ball and start an offensive action with a precise pass towards the middle of the pitch.
Le Marchand perhaps doesn’t pose much danger from set pieces as his goal-scoring record isn’t impressive: he’s only managed to net seven goals in his career. However, the 28-year-old seems to be a decent defensive signing for a team that struggled with keeping a clean sheet at the beginning of last season.
Experienced in Europe
Perhaps the most valuable for Fulham might be Le Marchand’s European football pedigree.
The Frenchman was a part of the Nice team who came third in Ligue 1 in the 2016/17 season and played in the Europa League. In his only appearance in Europe, against Krasnodar, he scored a goal securing a win for his team.
Last season, La Marchand featured regularly for Nice in the European cups. In two qualifying Champions League rounds, he helped Nice knock out Ajax before losing to Napoli.
Nice played then in the Europa League group stage with Lazio, Vitesse and Zulte Waregem and reached the Round of 32. La Marchand played in five games in the competition.
With Fulham’s offensive potential, Jokanovic seemingly decided that his team’s defensive line is the formation that needs a reshuffle ahead of the Premier League challenge and brought in a defensive-minded midfielder and a versatile defender.
Although maybe not as glamorous as Jean-Michel Seri, La Marchand is a solid signing for a newly-promoted Premier League side and should bring stability and experience into the team.
What do you think? Is this a good signing by Fulham? Let us know by commenting below.