Biggest purchase in the history of FC Nantes in 2018, symbol of the gangrene of the club by Mogi Bayat and the disastrous management of the Kita, Anthony Limbombe left the Yellow House on Monday. Resounding flop on the banks of the Erdre, the Belgian had not appeared in professional competition since March 2020 and will hold a place of choice in Nantes chess in the 21stand century. His departure is good news for everyone, after more than three and a half years of ordeal.
“I had told him to choose the athlete, he chose the legal” , also regretted a few days ago in front of the press the Kanak, who had sent the winger in reserve since mid-September. It is therefore the jackpot placed on the table by Waldemar Kita in the summer of 2018 (between eight and ten million euros, with bonuses) which flies away at the same time, without the yellow and green supporters not have ever been able to understand how the former Genk could have become the biggest investment in the history of the club. Craftsman of the title of champion of Club Brugge gleaned at the end of the 2017-2018 financial year and crowned Ebony Shoe at the same time, not far from taking the direction of the Premier League at the time, Limbombe had even celebrated his first cape with the Red Devils in March for 45 minutes in a friendly against Saudi Arabia (4-0 victory with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard or Kevin De Bruyne).
From selection to custody
In the middle of this deal obviously hovered the shadow of the agent Mogi Bayat, unofficial sports director of the FCN and forwarder of players – more or less credible – of Jupiler Pro League in the city of the Dukes of Brittany. A Bayat because of which the player finds himself in police custody, in November 2018, in the middle of the whirlwind of shenanigans of the Franco-Iranian businessman. An episode that will leave its mark: “In the story, I was a victim, and everyone saw me as a culprithe testified, West France. After that, I started playing less. Above all, morally, I took a hit. It’s impossible to feel good. This episode changed the way people look at me, and not just in football. Even when I went to town, people talked to me about it. Everyone thought I cheated. When I sign, I looked at what I was going to earn, the bonuses and the length of the contract. The rest, I trusted too much and that’s not good. Because people around me have done weird things. »
Limbombe’s last appearance in Nantes, on July 18 in a friendly defeat against Niort (1-0) as part of the Emiliano Sala challenge in Orléans.
Three years and seven months after his arrival, the native of Mechelen – not spared by the sores – leaves France in any case with 38 appearances for 17 starts in all competitions with Nantes and as many yellow cards collected as goals scored in Ligue 1 (of them). What to regret this bad career choice, for the main interested party: “I feel like I was just put there and it could have been somewhere else too. When I signed in Bruges, I felt the love of the people. In Holland, the team manager even showed me around the city. In Nantes, I never had that and it’s strange for a record transfer. I never had the feeling of being part of a project. » His loan in his country, to Standard de Liège at the start of the 2019-2020 financial year, will not necessarily have been happier (a knee injury, two burglaries suffered in Nantes and Liège around this period, and seven appearances for a goal and an assist). But in Nantes, Limbombe especially dragged his spleen. “I missed a match and I was insulted on Instagramhe says. We would go to the stadium and, if I missed a pass, we would say: “Is that eight million?” No one prepared me for this. »
A screamer against Lyon, and then that’s it
One image can be retained, however: this phenomenal free kick at La Beaujoire to hit Anthony Lopes and Olympique Lyonnais in the last minutes (2-1) one evening in April 2019, in order to begin a successful end to the season for the Canaries (five wins in a row including Lyon, Paris and Marseille). A pawn made special also because the next day, Bruno Genesio announced that he would leave the OL bench in the following weeks. Ten months later, Limbombe will score another important goal, the last, during a good performance on the lawn of the Vélodrome (1-3) on receiving a cake from Kader Bamba two weeks before his very last appearance in competition. official (in Angers, just before the Covid cut).
— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) June 18, 2020
When Limbombe sets sail, the memories are already very distant. And Limbombe – one of the club’s biggest salaries, with between 82,500 and 100,000 euros gross per month – quietly joins the mythical Kolbeinn Sigþórsson in the pantheon of the most beautiful Nantes fiascos, since the start of the new millennium. Under Kombouaré, the player will not have existed. “He told me he had nothing against me, that it was only a sporting choiceexplains Limbombe. I do not blame him. He comes here on a mission, he didn’t have time for a player like me. We wished each other the best. For him, last summer, I was too late on the others. » Since June 2020, Anthony Limbombe no longer works with Mogi Bayat. Perhaps the best lesson he learned from this disaster in Loire-Atlantique.
By Jeremy Baron