While most of the sides in the relegation battle in the Belgian Pro League were highly active during the winter transfer window, one side was noticeably absent. RFC Seraing are currently bottom of the league, but remain just six points form safety. After the World Cup break they lost to Eupen before beating fellow relegation strugglers Oostende and earning a point against rivals Standard Liege. This appeared to be a mini revival for the side, yet after three losses on the bounce the gap to safety is growing. They have also now gone well over a year without a home league win.
It appears that, with their lack of transfer activity, the club has resigned itself to its fate. Favourites for relegation going into the season, Seraing had to do without the usual support of FC Metz, who had helped them achieve promotion in the first place. Without the players the French club provides, Seraing had to be creative in signing players on a shoestring budget. They brought in a number of players from the lower reaches of European football, and despite being competitive for a while, it appears that their gambit hasn’t payed off.
Rather than go all out in January to push for survival, the side saw some of those summer signings return or move on to other clubs, while the one player they did bring in was John Nekadio, the 21-year-old central defender from Standard Liege. While Nekadio appears to be a good signing for the club and one for the future, clearly the hierarchy knows that it is wiser to cut their losses and prepare for next season in the Challenger Pro League.
What this does highlight is how crucial Metz were in the rise of Seraing from the third to first tier of Belgian football. Once that support network was removed, the club appeared to have no alternative to bring sustainable first division football to the Stade du Pairay.
For everyone else in the relegation battle, it eases the fear slightly, as now they are just fighting to avoid being in two spots rather than three.