Ligue 1 Daily – Deschamps leading Fanni chase

Olympique de Marseille’s search for a right-back could be over after president Jean-Claude Dassier revealed that Rennes defender Rod Fanni could join the current French champions by the weekend. Coach Didier Deschamps has been in need of another full-back after Cesar Azpilicueta was sidelined through injury. Liverpool have also been linked with Fanni, who has been capped five times by France, but Marseille’s haste to conclude a deal looks set to be the deciding factor.

Dassier told L’Equipe: “There are still a few details to sort out. I will call Rennes’ chairman and we will be able to start to talk with the player and his agent. A decision will be made within 48 hours.

Fanni’s possible arrival at the Stade Velodrome will still leave Marseille having to cover the right-back spot until January as the 29-year-old cannot be registered with another club until the transfer window opens, giving Fanni over a month to settle in at his new club before making his debut. Whilst the notion of signing a player you are prevented from playing may puzzle some, Deschamps’ intention to land Fanni will immediately weaken Rennes – who sit a place above Marseille in third – before eventually strengthen OM in an area where they have been somewhat hampered by Azpilicueta’s absence. In recent weeks, Charles Kabore and Soulemayne Diawara have filled in at right-back but the addition of Fanni would equip Deschamps’ squad with another natural right-back.

Fanni has made 10 league appearances for Rennes this season and his high-energy style of play would enable him to slot in to Marseille’s current system with ease, where Deschamps looks to utilise his full-backs to turn defence into attack swiftly when counter attacking. His side were able to bounce back from the unexpected defeat at Nice by ending their Champions League group stage commitments with a 1-0 win over Chelsea. The game saw the return of Didier Drogba to Marseille, who was greeted with a rapturous reception at the start of the game and when making his exit as a 60th minute substitute.

Despite the win, Marseille are in the unenviable position of having to face either Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid or Shakhtar Donetsk. And having finished as group runners up, Deschamps is under no illusions. He said: “If I tell you that I’d be happy to play Barcelona, then you’ll all think I’m crazy. They [Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona] are all used to playing in semi-finals. Everyone’s hoping to be drawn against Shakhtar Donetsk but finishing in front of Arsenal is some performance. It will be difficult, no matter the opponent.

Having successfully navigated their way through the group stages, Marseille return to Ligue 1 action on Saturday where they visit Auxerre, who dropped out of European competition after finishing bottom of Champions League Group G.

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