On Saturday 24 April against Brest, Saint-Étienne could win a victory that would be almost synonymous with maintenance. Coach Claude Puel will surely be able to count on the Tunisian international Wahbi Khazri, who has shone in recent weeks after a complicated period.
Wahbi Khazri was crossed several times during the African Cups of Nations and at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and is one of the players who never avoids questions or their responsibilities. The Tunisian international, pushed to the exit and removed from the group of coaches Claude Puel returns to the front of the stage to enable Saint-Étienne to end the 2020-2021 season calmer. He finally came out of the locker room to score in the last three victories of the Greens against Angers (1-0), Nîmes (2-0) and Bordeaux (4-1), the club against which he made the first Hattrick of his career .
“When I trust, it generally does not go so badly”
“It was not easy for him, but he is mentally strong. We talk to each other every day on the phone, but he’s not the type to complain and feel sorry, ”testified his older brother Foued in the Paris columns. Addition: “Wahbi is a respectful person, it is not his type to shout in his corner or go out to make big statements. We were trained that way.” Encouraged by the family clan and also the Tunisian selection (he had chosen Tunisia in 2012 under the leadership of Sami Trabelsi), did not send Wahbi Khazri, 30, his head and continued to believe in his profession, as Saint-Étienne would have wanted to send it to Qatar or Turkey, he did not want these destinations.
“When I trust, it usually does not go so badly. I did not play for some reason but that did not make me a bad player. I’ve never been one. I did not change. It is not an easy season for me but I have always tried to have the right mood “, said the captain of the Carthage Eagles after his Hattrick against Bordeaux. “Wahbi Khazri has made efforts in recent weeks and has made himself indispensable. The group wants to experience something good until the end of the season without giving up anything, commented Claude Puel.
Last summer, his high salary, around € 200,000 a month, made him a target for the technician in his cost-cutting policy, while Saint-Étienne is in financial difficulties due to both the health crisis and his rights. The Tunisian was therefore in an expulsion zone, like Yann M’Vila, a free party at Olympiakos in Greece or even the Algerian international Ryad Boudebouz, whose departure could not be realized despite an offer in the Middle East. But both players may need to look for a way out again this summer.
Claude Puel’s print
The Greens had received the transfer of Khazri from Sunderland for 7 million euros in July 2018. But in October 2019, Claude Puel had already expressed his dissatisfaction with him by confusing him for his performance. “I’m not asking him to walk on water, just to run on the ground,” he said. Less efficiently, N ° 10 Stéphanois ended the financial year 2019-2020 with only three goals and two assists. But last season he had largely shone with thirteen goals and six assists.
On Saturday, at home, against Brest, for the 34th day, Wahbi Khazri will really prove that Saint-Étienne can still count on him, at least until the end of the season. The man who has already experienced a renaissance at the Stade Rennais after his departure from the Premier League is visibly resourceful.
We remember that even the knockouts from the WC 2018 after the first two meetings, he wanted to come out with his head held high. Against Panama, for the third meeting of the Carthage Eagles, he scored a goal at the end of the first period and delivered an assist.