Marseille owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has delivered what sounds like an ultimatum to the playing and coaching staff at the club.
The French giants have enjoyed a dreadful start to the Ligue 1 season, winning just one of their nine matches so far and Louis-Dreyfus has demanded a rapid upturn in the club’s fortunes by reminding everyone that she could sell up whenever she chooses.
The Russian-born owner took over as the majority shareholder of the club following the death of her husband Robert Louis-Dreyfus two years ago.
But the joy of seeing France’s biggest club end a long wait for the league title in 2010, and come runner-up to Lille in 2011, is now wearing thin.
Didier Deschamps’ side have won only one of their nine league games, a situation which has left Louis-Dreyfus perplexed.
“Robert gave his life to Marseille,” she said in the article, to be published in French daily newspaper Le Monde newspaper Saturday.
“I’m happy to have given a chance to the club, and they’ve gone on to become French champions.
“But the current situation is difficult, and I can’t let it go on like this. Obviously, I’m free to sell the club whenever I like but that’s a decision that won’t be easy to make.”
Deschamps, who captained France to the 1998 World Cup, has been championed as the man to lead Marseille back to greatness and two years ago that certainly appeared to be the case as they ended their 18-year wait to be crowned champions.
This season, however, has left Deschamps under fire and many of his players believing that – with a 12-point deficit to Paris Saint Germain – the league title is now out of reach.
Louis-Dreyfus called for more efficiency off the pitch, and on it.
“The day to day running of the club is far too high. And for the money I invest, I get little in return. Over the last two seasons we’ve spent a lot more than what comes in to the club,” she said.
Marseille have the second biggest budget in the French league after Paris Saint Germain, who have recently been taken over by Qatari businessmen.
While claiming she has done everything she can to help Deschamps financially, Louis-Dreyfus warned that she expects results.
“I do a lot for Marseille. Personally, I’ve invested 20 million euros into the club this summer. It’s only normal I expect results,” she added.
“Now it’s up to him (Deschamps) to show what he can do.
“Logically, I shouldn’t hold on to the club. If I was a true businesswoman, I would have already sold it.
“Robert spent his money for the love of the club, the Qataris because it is business. But I’m neither Robert, nor from Qatar.”
Club president Vincent Labrune, appointed in place of Jean-Claude Dassier in June, said the sale of the club was “not on the agenda”.
But he expressed his commitment to making sure Marseille improve.
“Her priority, and ours, is to make sure that in sporting terms things get back to normal very quickly,” said Labrune.
“She will surely remind the players and the staff of that when she talks to them all next Thursday in Marseille.”