Pape Matar Sarr and Bamba Dieng, friends in life and inseparable in the Tanière, took an important turn in their respective careers last season.Tottenham gambled on the Senegalese midfielder, while Lorient did the same for the Diambars-trained youngster. After a less-than-successful season for both of them, which should be seen as a period of adjustment, this could well be the season of the last chance for their clubs.
Pape Matar Sarr: A difficult first season at Tottenham
One of Tottenham's coups last season was to secure the services of the promising Pape Matar Sarr, after a successful first season in Ligue 1 and a mixed second. The young player, trained at the Génération Foot academy, caused a stir on social networks. His coach at the time, Antonio Conte, spotted his talent, but felt he was still a little frail for the Premier League. Requests for a loan deal abounded. However, after a string of injuries on tour and a few performances in preparation for the tournament that showed his potential, the decision was made to keep him. The player played with the youngsters, then gradually made his way into the first team, where he took his place on the bench.
He picks up a few bits and pieces. At the end of the season, he had played 11 league games.He also made his mark in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 clash between AC Milan and Tottenham (0-0). In a less happy memory, he suffered defeat as a first-team regular against Newcastle (6-1). He even had to give up his place for tactical adjustments in the first half. Mixed feelings this season, necessary to build character. On top of that, at his young age, he will have experienced Metz's relegation, a CAN victory and a World Cup. Necessarily, he has matured.
Pape Matar Sarr's last chance to shine
With all this experience behind him, he will have to use it to express his talent and justify his transfer fee and the confidence of Spurs (who bought him for €20 million). It is therefore almost imperative that he shows his worth this season. At the risk of being criticized by impatient fans and having to pack his bags quickly.
To achieve his goals, he'll need to be more daring on the pitch, to outdo his rivals. This won't be easy with the likes of Hojberg, Bentancur, Ndombele, Bissouma, Lo Ceslo...These are players who would logically be the first choice given their experience at the highest level. But he enters the season with a few certainties, notably about the coach's intentions. Ange Postecoglou says he's counting on the Senegalese international this season."He's an exceptional player and he's always happy," he admits. He adds technical accuracy, stamina and intensity to his palette...
So the ball is in Pape Matar Sarr's court to seize his chance when he gets it. And who knows, maybe he'll settle into Tottenham's super-strong midfield. He's already making a positive impression in the preparations.
Bamba Dieng: the 3rd season confirms expectations for some and removes doubts for others
Bamba Dieng (23), like his brother-in-arms, showed his talent and, above all, his speed during his first real season in Ligue 1. Under Jorge Sampaoli at OM, he scored 7 goals in 25 games. Under the protective wing of the team's key players, the player showed his potential, as he did against Monaco (with a brace) and on the occasion of his goal against Strasbourg, which was crowned the finest of the year in Ligue 1.
He went on to establish himself in the Senegal team's rotation, winning the AFCON and, above all, putting in some outstanding performances.Enough to attract the interest of clubs such as Leeds and Nice. He didn't fly to Leeds on the last day of the mercato, preferring Nice, where he missed his medical due to a knee problem. So back to Marseille with Igor Tudor, who wasn't counting on him. His performances suffered, with 10 games for just one goal and, above all, a pile of criticism of his investment and even of his talent. A way out was offered to him by Lorient, who paid around 7 million euros plus bonuses at the winter mercato. Bamba Dieng, revenge on the line. But the damage had already been done, and Bamba was unable to get back on track and find success in a season that had got off to a bad start. Despite playing a number of games for Lorient (15), he managed just 3 goals, a meagre record.