Montreal Impact today confirmed the transfer of central defender Zakaria Diallo to French Ligue 2 club, Racing Club Lens for a fee believed to be around $150,000.
The player posted a text on his new club’s website, “It was going well in Montreal, but I was out of contract and did not want to wait and take risks. I received a superb offer from Lens, which is a very big French club.”
Diallo also tweeted ...
“I discovered Montreal, an extraordinary city where I sincerely thought to stay for a very long time. The locals and supporters made me feel right at home. I really fell in love with this city.
“The atmosphere at Stade Saputo will be missed and I hope the team will qualify for the playoffs. Today, Montreal may have lost a member of its formation, but certainly won a supporter.
“I received an offer from a significant historical French club that I could not refuse, but I wanted to write this message because, unfortunately, I could not say ‘good-bye’ to you at the stadium. Allez Montreal, and see you soon.”
The defender believes he can contribute to Lens’ promotion challenge as the northern French club tries to regain Ligue 1 status, lost in 2015.
Diallo told the the RC Lens website: “I am tall and athletic. I must be a leader in the field. I try to physically impose myself and give strength to the team. I am the last bulwark and I like to talk to those around me. This position allows me to be a base. As a defender, I try to set an example to get the team to go up, down, to squeeze, to do their best. I try to have a good raise and to impose my physique. I’m progressing every day and I’m here to work.”
Racing Club Lens had their purple period in history around the turn of the century, winning the French Ligue 1 title and losing the Coupe de France final in 1997/98. They were also Ligue 1 runners-up in 2001/02, won the Coupe de la Ligue in 1998/99, and reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals a year later, losing 1-3 on aggregate to Thierry Henry-inspired Arsenal.
It was also an era in which they embarked on two UEFA Champions League campaigns.
Last season, they lost in the Ligue 1 promotion play-offs to Dijon, and after 2 wins and a draw in their first three games, will expect to push hard to regain their place in the top flight this season.