Steve Mandanda was such a hero for Marseille last season that there may well be a film made about it one day. Routinely Man of the Match, Mandanda was already a favourite of the Marseille fans and, given his heroic performances, some were pushing for him to be chosen ahead of Hugo Lloris for France.
That was never going to happen, changing a goalkeeper is too big a deal before a major tournament, especially when the current one is perfectly fine, but it shows just how well Mandanda had been playing.
There were many in France who thought the goalkeeper could get a better move than Crystal Palace, so the transfer wasn’t universally greeted. Marseille fans wanted Mandanda to have a chance at a club without the terrible financial issues they were suffering, but even so, Palace didn’t seem a great destination.
Since then Mandanda has struggled with injury, and Marseille have been bought out and are looking at a much brighter future. Rumours of a return are only natural.
On Friday L’Equipe reiterate that Mandanda met Andoni Zubizarreta, Marseille’s sporting director, in a hotel recently and they obviously talked about a possible return. Mandanda is said to be ‘nostalgic’ for Marseille, and hasn’t been completely enthralled by London life.
He’s not particularly unhappy, but for family reasons would seriously consider a return to the south of France. However, he wants to finish the season first with Crystal Palace, and Marseille may well have found another alternative before then.
Forgetting Crystal Palace’s needs and wishes, and just looking at this from a football romance perspective… Steve Mandanda really needs to return ‘home’.