Marseille signs Portugal defender Rolando
PARIS (AP) — Forced to restructure after the unexpected departure of its coach earlier this month, Marseille bolstered its porous defense by signing three new players including Portugal international Rolando on the final day of Europe’s transfer window.
Marseille, which replaced Marcelo Bielsa with former Olympiakos coach Michel, got off to a poor start this season, losing three of its four league games.
Bielsa abruptly left the club after the first game of the season over a contract dispute after supervising the recruitment process, leaving Marseille officials with a squad of players selected by the Argentine coach.
Rolando, a bulky center back who joined from Porto, became Marseille’s 13th recruit of the summer before the nine-time champions announced the arrival on loan of Juventus defenders Mauricio Isla and Paolo De Ceglie.
Bielsa’s departure did not improve Matheus Doria’s situation at the club, though, as the Brazilian defender was loaned to Spanish outfit Granada with an option to make the move permanent. Doria, who joined Marseille last summer, was not part of Bielsa’s plans and had already been loaned last season.
Rolando has 19 caps with Portugal. He also had stints with Napoli, Inter Milan and Anderlecht over the past two years.
“I’m in a very important club, the only one to win the Champions League for France, it’s my birthday present,” said Rolando, who turned 30 on Monday
With French clubs struggling to attract the biggest names, the main news on deadline day was Monaco forward Anthony Martial’s last-minute departure from France’s national team to sign a contract with Manchester United. Hailed as Thierry Henry’s natural heir, Martial could cost United as much as 80 million euros ($89.7 million) according to French media reports.
After signing United winger Angel Di Maria on a four-year deal worth 63 million euros ($69 million) earlier this season, big-spending PSG remained quiet on Monday, offloading 22-year-old promising right back Youssouf Sabaly to Nantes on a one-year loan.
Elsewhere, Bordeaux signed Brazilian center back Pablo from Ponte Preta on a four-year deal while Rennes agreed on a season-long loan for Colombia and Porto midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero.