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Lorient fans have their say on Faivre moving to Bournemouth

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As reported at the start of January, Romain Faivre has seen his loan deal at French side Lorient cut short and he has “returned” to AFC Bournemouth.

Officially, the 25-year-old has returned to the Cherries, but in reality, this is his first move to the south coast of England having been immediately loaned out to Lorient in the summer when he was purchased for €15million from Olympique Lyonnais in July 2023. The French club is of course part-owned by AFC Bournemouth’s American owner Bill Foley.

The former France Under-21 international signed with the Cherries until the summer of 2028 and has made 17 appearances in Ligue 1 this season (including 16 starts) and has scored 5 goals and claimed 1 assist in those games.

But what kind of player are we getting to fill the void left by David Brooks following his short-term loan move to lower-league neighbours Southampton?

Two Lorient fans have visited the UpTheCherries Forum in recent days to leave their opinions on his style of play and recent performances.

May said

Hello there, I’m a Lorient supporter and I figured I would come back around here to give you some news about Romain Faivre. I don’t pretend to be entirely unbiased about him, but I’ll do my best to sum up the debates we have on our forum, so that you can get an idea of what he could bring to your team.

Faivre mostly played as an inverted winger on the right flank, but on a couple of occasions, he was positioned right next to the forward as a false nine. He was not great, but overall our team has been struggling this season, and I can’t say he won’t shine in that position.

Faivre leaves Lorient in a weird way, after missing a few games for shady reasons (officially due to injuries, but it didn’t convince us). There was a clash after the last game of the season, where the coach said that some players were not giving their best, and bringing the club down basically. When asked by the vice-captain who these players were, he mentioned four names, including Faivre. We went through a bit of drama last Christmas, and since then Faivre has been out of the picture until it was confirmed that he would leave.

Rumours are rumours, but I’ve been watching and analysing most of the games, and I concluded that Faivre was probably one of the main reasons why our club started to struggle in Ligue 1 (since January of last year, actually). At first, we used to play a relatively conventional 4231, but Faivre was not really great in that position. He had trouble starting low on the pitch, lacking stamina and pace to move the ball forward. For about 2 months, he really failed to make a positive impression, and the excuse of « he hasn’t played for a while » were less and less convincing after a few weeks. Instead of using another player to fill the role, our coach decided to shift to a 343 where Faivre proved to be much better. We still had trouble playing collectively, and we produced really bad football, but Faivre scored important goals last year (some of them really showing great flair) and we somehow got to the conclusion that we needed players to play in this new system.

I’m not really neutral, because I’d rather have a strong team than a strong player, and I’m aware that Faivre is not the only problem here. However, we based our recruitment on the 343 we invented for him, and it was a spectacular failure. As fans, we have never seen such a waste of money, and such pitiful football being played in this club. Really shameful.

In my opinion, Faivre played a role in this debacle, because he seems to be very individualistic, often keeping the ball for himself and trying to dribble two, three or four players in order to make something happen, rather than going for the obvious pass that would make the team move forward. Sometimes, I would find myself counting how many times he would touch the ball before giving it, and for about 10-15 minutes the number would never go below 7 or 8. There is a consensus on the forum that he plays for himself and his statistics, that he likes to dribble, and that he is not great at defending. As I mentioned, he lacks stamina, and he can’t really run back and forth to cover the flanks and make up for all the time he loses the ball. That’s one of the biggest problems, and we are wondering if he can adjust to the high intensity of the English PL. Most people in Lorient would tell you that he won’t, but after he came back from the mysterious injuries, reports from training mentioned that he was particularly motivated and displayed great pace and energy. Hopefully, for you, he was just holding back in Lorient, and he will surprise everyone for the best.

The thing that should worry you the most is that he is a lightweight and that he loses the ball a lot when he dribbles. I’m not an expert, but I’ve heard many times that the English PL was more physical than French Ligue 1, and that referees were less likely to blow the whistle when there was no clear foul. Yet, Faivre has lost many, many balls because he can’t really stand a challenge from a fullback. He falls a lot, and complains a lot, but rarely gets us a good free kick. That might be a problem if your team doesn’t have a very strong full-back of wing-back to cover the right flank.

As I mentioned, I’m not unbiased, and it wouldn’t be fair to ignore those who think in a different way. Some argue that Faivre was having trouble passing the ball because his teammates were not great, especially the forwards. Their argument is that, since there is no movement, and/or our strikers have poor technical skills, Faivre has to keep the ball in order to wait for them to make a good run or something. His losing the ball would be a consequence of our strikers not providing enough solutions for him to choose from.

I’d say there is some truth to that, but in my opinion, a player like him should be able to influence the game, and not depend on his partners. Moreover, if no one is making the right run, that does not mean that you have to try and dribble the whole team in front of you.

If you made it through to the end, thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it provides you with some insights into your kinda new recruit, and maybe you’ll see something completely different when he plays for you. A good coach and a good team can transform a player immensely.

Angus responded…

Hi, I am also a Lorient supporter, and I can somewhat agree with the observation, although I think it´s a bit simplistic and unfair. If we only look at the negatives without weighing the positives, there is hardly a single player worthy of the name, even the much better ones.

First and foremost, I don’t recall any concerns among us supporters regarding Faivre and his performance when he first arrived. Sure, we could see that he hadn’t played for a while, but we must also keep in mind that the team lost two of its most influential players and got several new ones.

If, instead, we focus on the end of last season when he scored four goals and provided two assists in six games, or the beginning of this season when he was quite useful and saved us several times, we would describe him as a popular player whom everybody was delighted to welcome back last summer.

He is a technical player who performs at his best when surrounded by other technical players. He enjoys combining with other players through short passes and likes to dribble and make progressive runs. It’s not without reason that he is among the most fouled players in Ligue 1. Excluding penalties, he holds the position of the fifth-highest goal scorer in Ligue 1 if I remember correctly, and he is the top scorer for Lorient. He is a player who often performs very well when the team plays well but may face challenges when the team struggles. Nevertheless, he possesses the ability to change the dynamics of a game with a single move, thanks to his technique. Historically, he hasn’t lacked stamina and usually covers quite a long distance every game, but I agree with the observation that he played well in one half and then disappeared in the other far too many times before Christmas. He looked tired and a bit uninspired. Ironically, I found that he played a bit better in the last game before Christmas, the one that stirred a lot of drama with fragments of post-match locker room talk leaking, pointing fingers, naming names and so on.

The perception that he is too individualistic and holds onto the ball for too long has only surfaced in the last two months or so. In other words, around the same time as the whole team began to decline, which also coincided with recurring injuries, different lineups every game and a game plan and tactics that were quite difficult to interpret, at least for me.

Faivre certainly could have done much better in recent months, especially given his above-average technique, but blaming the entire situation on him is unjust. He has somehow become the sole scapegoat for everything that has gone wrong in Lorient. There is a significant amount of bashing and, surprisingly, even hatred directed towards him, and I find it challenging to comprehend why. After all, there are 10 other guys on the pitch and a coach on the side…

I find it sad that he has left. I would have loved to see him play alongside our new recruits to see what they could have cooked up, especially given the recent reports from training talking about a Faivre on fire, with great pace, energy and full involvement.

Will he succeed with you? No idea. He has much to offer, and hopefully, he can showcase that when he is fully integrated and a bit more familiar with the Premier League. With a great coach, a good team and the right mindset, who knows what he can achieve?

It was a lengthy message, but thank you sincerely for allowing me to share my views on the subject.

Best of luck with the remainder of your season! – To join the conversation, click here.

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