During the winter transfer window, former Leeds United winger Max Gradel was heavily linked with a move back to England after his performances for Saint-Etienne didn’t quite reach the levels that they had hoped.
Coach Christophe Galtier gave the player more chances to impress during the second half of the season, and he repaid the club and finished with five goals and five assists.
Now he has started the season on fire, with two starts in two games he is already off the mark with his first game of the season and French media is reporting that the player is set to be offered a new contract.
His current deal runs out next summer, and there is definitely a talented players there, and it would be a bad move for Saint-Etienne to let him go on a free transfer.
This weekend, Saint-Etienne were due to give new signing Kevin Monnet-Paquet his debut, and many believed it would be Gradel that would drop to the bench. Instead, Galtier decided to drop Romain Hamouma and put Gradel on the right of the three man attack.
The coaches decision was rewarded after the hour when Gradel fired Saint-Etienne level against Stade de Reims. The home side then went on to win the game 3-1 and Gradel was one of the main reasons for the comeback.
Gradel scored 25 goals in 85 games over four seasons with Leeds United and became a huge fan favourite at the Yorkshire club. He hasn’t quite hit those heights at Les Verts, but perhaps the excellent performances near the end of last season and the bright start to this campaign will see him become a star in the Rhone Valley.
With the next African Cup of Nations tournament happening this January in Morocco, Gradel will be hoping to take part in both the qualifying and the tournament with the Ivory Coast.
To get his chance as an international again, he needs to be playing games for Saint-Etienne and it looks like he will definitely get his chance this season.