Lille OSC performed one of the biggest shocks in European football this past season when they beat Paris Saint-Germain to the French Ligue 1 title.
PSG had dominated the top flight for seven of the previous eight seasons before the club from northern France caused a stir.
The man behind the success? 54-year-old Christophe Galtier in what is only his second job as a manager. They had been long odds to cause an upset heading into the season and anyone who took advantage of the matchbook sign up offer will have been greatly rewarded – PSG were at a very short price.
The former Marseille defender has spent much of his career as an assistant, starting in 1999 following his retirement as a footballer. He spent the first five years in France, with Marseille, Aris and Bastia before making his first move abroad, to follow Alain Perrin to Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
He would then follow Perrin around – with his next club being Portsmouth in the Premier League before the duo returned home, first with Sochaux, then Lyon, then Saint-Etienne.
When Perrin was relieved of his duties at ASSE in December 2009 amid a relegation scrap, Christophe Galtier stepped into his first managerial role. He guided them to safety and then a top half finish in each of his seven full seasons in charge of the club, of which four saw them qualify for Europe. He also helped the club lift their first trophy in 32 years when they won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2012-13.
By this time, Galtier was catching the attention of the bigger clubs, and it was Lille who finally took a chance on him in 2017. Last champions in 2011, they were coming off a disappointing 11th place finish in the previous campaign.
Four years later and they are at the top of French football again. A team that has a very strong defence, conceding just 23 goals in their 38 league matches, and pace on the attack and counter-attack.
Former Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte was an integral part of that championship winning defence, starting 36 games at the age of 37.
Experience in attack proved key too as 35-year-old Burak Yilmaz lead the way with 16 goals. The Turkish striker scored a mixture of tap ins, headers and long range strikes. He was supported with a bit of pace in Jonathan David, Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikone, and some flair in fellow countryman Yusuf Yazici.
The bookmakers have slashed the odds of Christophe Galtier becoming the next Everton manager in recent days. And newspapers are now claiming we would only need to pay his current club €5 million compensation to bring him to Goodison Park.
One would have to think this is an opportunity the 54-year-old could not turn down, having just accomplished the highest possible feat with Lille. Carlo Ancelotti has left behind some very talented players for the next manager in Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan to build a team around.
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