Le50 2016: Corentin Jean – ES Troyes AC
As Monaco shifted policy from buying the biggest and best players in the world to the most talented youngsters around, one could imagine those in charge at Troyes nervously unplugging their telephones. They had just earned promotion to Ligue 1 and the player at the heart of their success was Corentin Jean.
It was impressive that Troyes had managed to keep hold of him for so long. After making his debut at the age of 17 Jean immediately developed a reputation for himself, and it felt almost inevitable that he would be snapped up by a big club; yet the move didn’t come immediately.
This was mostly down to Jean’s inconsistencies given his young age, and in retrospect this was probably best for him. By staying with Troyes he could develop in a familiar environment where he would get regular game time.
That meant that last season he played nearly 30 games in the league, scoring ten goals as Troyes earned promotion. Now the big clubs were taking an interest as Jean began to prove himself. In the end it was no surprise when Monaco made their move and loaned him back to Troyes for the season.
Both Jean and Troyes have had to adjust to now being the whipping boys in pretty much every game, whereas last season they were the dominant side, and that has shown in their performances. At times Jean has really struggled to get into the game. His style of play means that this was always likely: he’s an instinctive poacher but in a team that is always on the back foot and unable to provide him with consistent service, it becomes trickier for him.
This season he has had fewer chances with Troyes and as a result his goal tally has gone down. However, despite this Jean-Marc Furlan, his manager at the beginning of the season, was not concerned.
“Coco wouldn’t have trouble scoring goals if he was playing for a top ten team, but it’s much harder when you’re a striker for a team that’s scrapping for its life at the bottom.”
Furlan had a point. This season has been a great learning curve for Jean: he’s had to learn how to work for the team when he is getting chances and he has become a more complete player for it. This puts him in good stead for his return to Monaco next season and as Furlan observed, one would expect him to be able to shine in a team that creates more chances.
However it is worth reiterating that Jean is still far from the finished article: he still doesn’t look effective as a lone striker and whilst he is clearly a poacher, he needs to work more on the other parts of his game. That will come with time and this season has been excellent for his development.
In fact it has been so good that one could feasibly see Monaco allowing him to go out on loan to another smaller Ligue 1 side next season. It would be good, however, to see him given a chance in Leonardo Jardim’s team. Jean has developed since signing for the club and given the number of creators in this Monaco side it would be very interesting to see how he would get on.