Standard Liege arguably overachieved under Ronny Deila last season. They were close to European football, but once Deila announced his departure for Club Brugge their season petered out. They struggled to find a consistent striker, and were also reliant on a number of quality loanees who have not returned this time around. Pressure is on investors 777, as fans are starting to lose patience with the project and the lack of summer transfer excitement.
Head coach: Carl Hoefkens (unattached)
Transfers in: Zinho Vanheusden (Inter), Hayao Kawabe (Wolves), Romaine Mundle (Tottenham), Isaac Price (Everton), Aiden O’Neill (Melbourne City FC)
Transfers out: Gojko Cimirot (Al-Feiha FC), Abdoul Fessal Tapsoba (Amiens, loan), Noe Dussenne (Laussanne), Alexandro Calut (OH Leuven, loan), Mathieu Cafaro (Saint-Etienne)
Player to watch: Noah Ohio
20-year-old Dutch forward Noah Ohio is expected to lead the line, and score the majority of the goals, for Hoefkens side this season. He managed five goals in 29 games, but showed he has tons of potential. A number of Italian sides were reportedly interested in him during the summer, but Ohio said he wanted to stay and prove himself in Belgium first. Standard need a goal scorer and they are hopeful Ohio will be the one.
Another creative player who can create and score goals would be great for Standard. Last year they had Steven Alzate and Philip Zinckernagel, with the latter grabbing 10 goals in 28 games. They need someone like the Dane to come in and provide a spark, as the side doesn’t appear to have that type of proven player in the squad at the moment.
With key players gone, and the manager to boot, expectations are lower for Standard ahead of the 2023/2024 season. They could be a surprise package if some of the young players can live up to their promising potential. If they can make it to the top six that would be a pretty remarkable achievement for Hoefkens, but they should easily be above the bottom and in the second play offs.