While Stade Rennais ended its season with a 4th place in Ligue 1, qualifying directly for the next group stage of the Europa League, what is the Breton club’s sporting record and what to expect next season? Answers, especially with coach Bruno Genesio.
The sports report: “The ranking reflects the season”, assures Genesio
“He is very good”, welcome coach Bruno Genesio and sports director Florian Maurice. The objective of the start of the season, which was to qualify for a European competition and if possible for a better competition than this year with the Europa League Conference, has been fulfilled. With this 4th place, Rennes qualifies for the Europa League and for the fifth season in a row will play Europe next year. Five consecutive seasons in Europe, only PSG has succeeded in this performance in Ligue 1, showing that the Breton club continues to pass milestones. Stade Rennais has even had a record season: record points scored (68), record goals scored (82 in Ligue 1, 101 in all competitions), record wins (20 in L1) and also the most beautiful game played in the history of the club in all seasons. With recognized individual performances like Martin Terrier in the typical UNFP team or Bruno Genesio elected best coach in Ligue 1.
Despite everything, the Rennais just missed out on the Champions League. Disappointment? “Yes and no” for Genesio, “because I think we are in our place and if we take the budgets as a reference we are even above our place (Editor’s note: Rennes has the 7th budget with 110 million euros ). The ranking reflects the season. We had exceptional moments in the season in terms of quality of play, with big wins, but we also had too many weak times and too many losses. The game we played also gave us perhaps cost the missing points but we never denied ourselves”.
Upcoming changes: Extended Genesio? “We will discuss”
For next season, Stade Rennais intends to continue to be ambitious and continuous in terms of play. “We will continue to play in the same way with this desire to produce as much play with a lot of runs, movements, repetition of efforts. The profiles of the players sought will go in this direction” announces Bruno Genesio who is very involved in the preparation of the next season. A sign that the Breton coach will always be there, he who is under contract until 2023. “Whatever happens, I will be there next season and I am preparing for it. I am good here. do a good job with the Pinault family and Florian, you know, with whom I have a personal relationship. We form a pair. The working climate is not calm because we are under pressure for the result, but we can tell each other things and move forward frankly without a second thought. I am totally fulfilled”. To the point of repelling any requests? “It’s possible yes, but I’m not really a careerist and as I say for the players, everything is not necessarily better elsewhere”.
Discussions are underway for a contract extension and could end quickly even if Genesio delays a bit. “What I want is to make a club and a team progress. Now that the season is over, we’re going to discuss. I’m still waiting for answers on what we’re going to put in place, with what means”.
The transfer window to come: a number 1 goalkeeper, a central defender, a midfielder…
On the departure side, Jonas Martin at the end of his contract was not extended to allow in particular the hatching of the young person trained at the club, Lesley Ugochukwu. The big files will be the contract extensions or not of the executives Hamari Traoré, the captain, and Benjamin Bourigeaud the vice-captain, under contract until 2023 like Flavien Tait who extended him this Monday until 2024 (plus an additional year optional). Traoré and Bourigeaud who have known everything at the club for 5 years (victory in the Coupe de France, European qualifications, Champions League) want to play abroad. If the trend is towards a departure, Stade Rennais wants to keep them and has made offers to this effect. Traore is followed in the Premier League by Brendford. Benjamin Bourigeaud in full reflection is notably in a list of targets from Leicester and the two clubs from Rome, Roma and Lazio, but one track among others for the moment. The future of the two players could take time to settle depending on the offers.
The Rennes club also expects to be attacked for Nayef Aguerd and Martin Terrier but intends to keep them while Serhou Guirassy, relegated to the bench almost all season, could find a way out to make room for promising youngsters Mathys Tel (17 years) and Matthis Abline (19 years).
On the arrivals side, the priority will be to recruit a number 1 goalkeeper, a 4th central defender whose absence was lacking throughout the second half of the season and a midfielder with impact and experience. The performances of Alfred Gomis in goal in particular are logically considered not decisive enough since his arrival two years ago. A few names came out like Benjamin Lecomte or Walter Benitez at the end of the contract in Nice, without being confirmed. The attack is a priori the sector where the movements will be the most limited. Rennes is already well provided with in particular Jérémy Doku and Kamaldeen Sulemana almost non-existent this season due to injuries.
Finances: a budget increase at the margin, with the support of the Pinaults
Stade Rennais had invested massively last summer with nearly 80 million euros in purchases (for Laborde, Majer, Sulemana, Badé, Santamaria…) partially offset by 45 million in sales (including Camavinga to Real Madrid for 30 million euros). The budget of 110 million euros should increase at the margin. If the investments will probably not be as massive and no big sale is to be expected, the Breton leaders know that they can always count on the Pinault family to finalize a transfer or a contract extension like that of Bourigeaud, idol of the club and supporters for example. The shareholder says he is very satisfied with the season and especially with the image reflected by the club’s performance and the pride of the public.