Florian Thauvin hits back
Florian Thauvin has defended himself against criticism he forced Lille into sanctioning his summer move to Marseille, claiming the northern club broke their promises to him.
Thauvin, 20, signed a five-year deal with OM just before the transfer window closed having never even played a game for Lille with whom he had agreed a four-and-a-half year deal only last January.
The northern club, who paid some €3.5 million for the youngster before selling him for nearly five times that, immediately loaned Thauvin back to his former club Bastia; a move, Thauvin told Canal+, was just the first of a number of manoeuvres which left him determined to quit the 2010/11 Ligue 1 champions.
"I didn't do anything seriously wrong. Normally, I was supposed to join Lille in January when they let me stay at Bastia on loan. Nobody knows that. When I was loaned out immediately, I was disappointed. As I only found out at the last minute, I didn't want to stop the transfer from going through," the recent Under-20 World Cup winner, who trained just once with the Lille first-team squad before going on strike until OM completed their move for him, explained.
"I was promised a lot of things, and that's partly why I'm angry with the Lille board. During my loan, I had a great season, I expected to hear from the club, if only to find a place to live. I only heard from Lille when it was announced in the press that Marseille were interested in me. When [Lille president] Michel Seydoux said he would meet me, promised me a pay rise... I didn't ask for anything.
"I simply want to play football, feel good where I am, prove myself on the pitch. If they'd told me to come and play at Marseille for the same salary or even less than that which I got at Bastia, I would have gone without a problem. I want to fulfil my dream."
Thauvin, who struck ten times for Bastia in Ligue 1 last season, had signed for Lille when Rudi Garcia was coach and the squad still contained a large number of those who had achieved the domestic double only two years previously. However, the club slipped out of the European qualifying places on the final day of last season, and consequently sold off a number of high-profile squad members while also replacing Garcia with Rene Girard.
"There was the second part of the season. Lille didn't qualify, the coach and a lot of players left. You have to look at the evidence: the sporting project to which I wanted to commit myself is no longer that of Lille today," Thauvin said.
"I was very disappointed, I have always respected the people who have respected me. For me, the people at Lille didn't do what they had to do for me. From 5 August when I returned to training, a departure had been agreed upon. The Lille board knew about it. I don't understand why I never had a meeting or telephone conversation with Mr Seydoux."