Vincent Pajot (mid) (Metz); Baptiste Guillaume (att) (Valenciennes), Ibrahima Cisse (def) (Dunkerque); Anthony Mandrea (gk) (Cholet); Thomas Pellenard (def) (released);
Angers completed the 2019-20 season comfortably in the heart of the Ligue 1 table under no threat of relegation, continuing their trend of solid performances.
Stephane Moulin has earned a reputation of being able to get the best from his side and showed more tactical flexibility last term that he has in the past, moving away from his favoured 4-3-3 system and playing a brand of football that was less reliant on physical strength. That trend is set to continue into the new campaign, with Angers not giving their squad a facelift so far in the early days of the transfer window.
The arrival of Paul Bernardoni in goal represents something of a coup, while it also highlights the desire of Angers to sign young players with sell-on potential, which is a statement of confidence that they will remain in the top flight for the foreseeable future. While promising left-back Rayan Ait Nouri may be a player to depart in the summer, he was not an important member of the squad last season as he was limited by injury problems.
One of Angers’ strengths last season was that they were not reliant on any particular individuals. Rachid Alioui and Stephane Bahoken were joint top scorers with seven goals, while Farid El Melali was highly promising before injury hit him. His return should offer a big boost to the team.
An area of importance will be the midfield, where the emphasis is on solidarity, but there is also plenty of depth allowing the coach flexibility in his tactical options. Even if lynchpin Baptiste Santamaria departs – one of the key defensive midfielders in Ligue 1 last season – Lassana Coulibaly has returned from loan to offer cover. Meanwhile, the defence will revolve around several experienced players, with Mateo Pavlovic and Ismael Traore, the likely starting centre-backs both the wrong side of 30. For Angers, though, this should be little problem.
Mid-table security should be comfortably attained by Angers.