There isn’t much news that could be described as unbelievable when you’re talking about Oldham Athletic. However, that doesn’t stop the rumour mongers casting their lines and waiting for a bite.
The latest one apparently backed up by someone who claims they are scouting for the club, is that ex-Arsenal and Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh has been coaxed out of retirement at 35 to turn out for Latics in League Two next season. As rumours go, it had a degree of believability given that the player has both Moroccan and French citizenship, but a player who hasn’t kicked a ball since February 2016 is pushing the imagination a little too far.
It is not beyond belief however to expect an influx of French players. Given the imminent arrival of new coach Laurent Banide or, ones who are connected with Abdallah Lemsagam’s Sport2jlt company based in Dubai.
There are more French players than you can shake a baguette at who find themselves without a club, having failed to get a contract extension and many ends their playing careers out in Dubai or Saudi Arabia. It is therefore fairly obvious that any incoming players from that area aren’t going to be fresh-faced youngsters.
Right midfielder Billy Ketkeophomphone is a free agent having been released by Auxerre, presumably because they didn’t have a shirt wide enough for his name. However, at 29 he may still have a season left in him, despite his previous problems with injury.
On the books of Sport2jlt is Brazilian forward Wanderley or Wanderley Santos Monteiro Júnior to his mates. The 30-year-old striker had an impressive record in the UAE Gulf League, scoring 36 goals in 58 appearances. There is little knowledge of what the standard is like out in the UAE, and how it compares with League Two.
There has been one rumour surrounding a player who isn’t based in Angers or Abu Dhabi, and that is the very un-French sounding Billy Clarke who has been released by Bradford City. He spent a large part of last season out with a cruciate ligament rupture, but the 31-year-old attacking midfielder might be tempted to stay in the region despite the interest shown from Exeter City.
Without a doubt, there will be further rumours concerning new signings as the start of the season approaches. Nevertheless, as with the new coach, whether they are well known or not cannot be guaranteed. Plans for next season certainly need to be stepped up a gear for as the French say: ‘Qui n’avance pas, recule’.