Duchâtelet to increase network
It really is no wonder Charlton were not within a sniff of buying a player on transfer deadline day, our industrious leader was doing something else. Not only did he replace the manager at Standard, he also entered into negotiations to buy Ligue 1 club RC Lens.
France has long been on Roland Duchâtelet list, and after a dalliance with Tours, he may well have turned his attention to Lens. Just like with Tours, it was a potential transfer target that turned the conversation onto something bigger. Duchâtelet was attempting to buy Lens’ young midfielder Wylan Cyprien for Standard, just like Andy Delort and Charlton, Standard didn’t reach agreement on Cyprien, but it now appears the Belgian may have ended up with a bigger fish.
Like Tours, Lens are in big financial difficulties and are suffering at the hands of major shareholder Hafiz Mammadov, a name Sheffield Wednesday fans will be familiar with.
After Lens won promotion to Ligue 1 in May, their promotion was blocked due to financial irregularities in Lens’ budget and some missing payments. This investigation has been rolling on all season, until last week when it was announced that Lens’ promotion last season has been ruled invalid, and thus will be automatically relegated to Ligue 2 for the 2015/16 season, regardless of where the team finish this season.
They are currently in the relegation places having won just 5 games all season against a background of mismanagement and confusion. Lens fans – don’t get your hopes up!
Roland Duchâtelet is clearly hoping to pick up the northern France team for a song and obviously intends to continue to grow his network of European football clubs. I don’t know if Lens own their impressive Stade Bollaert-Delelis stadium, which is closed this season for upgrades in readiness for the 2016 European Championships, but that would be a major attraction.