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With the spotlight currently on big-spending Monaco, Rob Canavan from the Final Third looks at French football’s ‘other guys’; newly promoted Nantes and Guingamp.

Since AS Monaco secured the Ligue 2 title, Twitter has been awash with rumours about the various marquee signings that the club’s billionaire owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev is prepared to sanction. Incredibly, these rumours were not the lucid fantasises of a Daily Mail hack, given column inched to fill. Monaco have confirmed the signings of Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez & Radamel Falcao for a combined fee of around £130 million. These signings (and the speculation about the future of manager Claudio Ranieri) have seen Monaco grab all of the French football related headlines around the world. It seems the media have forgotten about the other two sides who have climbed out of France’s second tier.

EA Guingamp & Nantes secured promotion to Ligue, finishing 2nd & 3rd respectively.

1) Guingamp are not a household name in French football. They have spent just 7 seasons in Ligue 1. The only silverware which the club boasts is the Coupe de France (won in 2009, while the club was in Ligue 2) and the Intertoto Cup (1996). The arrival of Guincamp will see the revival of the Derby Breton with Rennes (interestingly, Rennes was the club which Guincamp beat in the final of their Coupe de France success). The club plays in front of just 8,000 fans and it’s hard to see them surviving in Ligue 1.

2) Nantes are one of France’s most successful club sides. Their tally of major honours is impressive: 8 Ligue 1 titles, 3 Coupe de France & 1 Coupe de la Ligue. Les Canaris’ last title came in 2001. As is the case with most big clubs who fall upon hard time, financial woe and boardroom instability led to their fall from grace. If Nantes can secure their top flight status next season, they will have a platform to build on. They cannot afford to go down again. It will be interesting to see how many fans attend Nantes’ home games next season. The club boasts a 38,000 seater in La Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau, but their average gate during the 2012/13 season was 10,000.

The two clubs could not be more different and yet their aims will be the same. Survive.


Sport Is Everything. Rob Canavan.

You can follow Rob on Twitter via @WhitesFan. You can also catch Rob on the latest episode of The Final Third podcast.

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