Speaking Franckly

The Portland Timbers announced yesterday that they have released midfielder Franck Songo’o.

This move wasn’t entirely unexpected.  The fact that Franck’s signing wasn’t announced with those of the other players resigned from the 2012 season suggested that his place on the side was, at least, still in question.

And from a player personnel angle the move also doesn’t seem shocking.  From being one of the two great weaknesses of the past two seasons (the fullbacks being the other) the Timbers Front Office has moved quickly to shore up the midfield before the start of the coming season.  From being – as one of the best comments on the post discussing this move over at Stumptown Footy put it – a bright candle in a dark room Songo’o had become just another dim part of the candelabra that will be this season’s midfield.  And not a very bright candle in the view of the coach, general manager, and, presumably, the owner.

Still, the big issue this points up is how opaque and difficult-to-suss-out these player contract negotiations are.  The MLS Player’s association places Franck’s 2012 salary at about $70,000 as part of a two-year contract that, supposedly, saw his pay increase this coming year.  How large this increase might be is difficult to estimate.

But, consider; Jack Jewsbury made about $160,000 last year and is likely to make roughly the same in this coming season.

If you were the Timbers owner, would you consider Songo’o less valuable than Jewsbury?

Even more than that – consider the last part of the last sentence of the Oregonian article, since my understanding is that Geoff Arnold is largely a megaphone for the Timbers’ Front Office: “…the Timbers decided they didn’t want Songo’o back, even at a reduced salary. “

So the team didn’t just consider Songo’o less valuable than Jewsbury, an aging defensive midfielder whose wheels are largely gone and who no longer takes the spot-kicks that made him useful in 2011, they didn’t even consider Songo’o v.2013 as valuable as Songo’o v.2012 at a lower cost.

Not even an increased cost.  A lower cost.

That’s pretty baffling.

Much of the commentary on this trade at Stumptown is fairly acrid.  Franck is an attractive player and his skills were one of the few bright(er) facets of the last dire season (albeit skills that weren’t effective as a means of goalscoring or winning, but given his surroundings its hard to lay that back on him).  And in my opinion a lot of the cause of this is the toxic effect of the man who has moved back upstairs from his dire interregnum on the touchline; this suspicion and this simmering distrust will linger as long and perhaps longer than he will.  Many supporters simply don’t trust Gavin to make intelligent player decisions anymore.

But I think that an immense part of the trouble is that it is difficult or simply impossible for the fan standing outside to see into, hear, and understand what’s happening in those closed rooms underneath the walls of Jeld-Wen Field.

And where there is no light, even the brightest candle can cast some dark and troubling shadows.  It’s hard to speak frankly when you can’t hear the words being spoken around you.

29 thoughts on “Speaking Franckly

  1. “If you were the Timbers owner, would you consider Songo’o less valuable than Jewsbury?”
    Personally, yes. I think Jewsbury provides something to the team that the team needs. Veteran leadership. Watch Nagbe’s In 36 show on NBC Sports and you see it. Ask players about Jack and you see it. Regardless of actual MLS experience & leadership values, Jewsbury also provides versatility. Jewsbury doesn’t excel at any one thing, but can fill a variety of roles when needed. And he has scored goals in the run-of-play. I’m not arguing that Jewsbury should automatically be a starter, but I think he brings more to the table. To me, Songo’o was a decent player last season but his value isn’t as high as Jewsbury.

    1. Weelllll…

      I’d have to say that this might be a place we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      I’d say, first, that the “leader” of the team that I watched get shelled 5-nil in Dallas would have to be considered to be providing…questionable…leadership at the very least. And, that said, I think personally that Jewsbury seems like a genuinely decent guy and a hard-working player. But given the trainwreck that this team often seemed to be last season, both in aptitude and attitude, his leadership might not be considered an unmixed positive.

      And while I agree that he was a useful journeyman last season I would argue that he was a problem in midfield because he filled roughly the same role that Chara did but not as well and a problem at RB because if you put him back there it effectively killed any sort of forward movement coming out of that side. And the problem WITH that is that he’s your captain; the on-field leader. If he’s just a journeyman he needs to be benchable if someone is having a better run of play that he is…but if he’s your captain you can’t just do that…

      So my point was, simply, that if Franck is not affordable at $160K, what does that say about Jack?

  2. What mike Donovan said. Franck was a bright spot. But his over dribbling and poor shot accuracy don’t fit cp game plan. One goal on a gk’s mistake.

    1. I suspect that this had a lot to do with what happened. But the opacity makes it so hard to be sure, and without that clarity – and after some of the moves from last season (such as the Perkins trade) – I think it is understandable that this move has provoked some reaction.

      As I said in the post; I’m not making the argument that Franck should have stayed. Only that without any way of telling WHY he didn’t stay – too expensive, didn’t fit into Porter’s schemes (tho how the hell could he tell after two days of practice..?), left his stinky skids lying around the dressing room…? We just can’t know and in the current situation with the bad blood between Gavin and many supporters this move was bound to raise some hackles.

      1. I don’t think Caleb made the decision based on two days of practice. He made it from watching last year’s game tapes. And maybe from talking to people, asking about Franck’s intangibles.

        The question now is… what happens with Captain Jack? Is he next to go? He’s in camp, so clearly Caleb wasn’t TOO turned off by what he saw in the game tapes, but still… now that he’s seen him in practice, seen him in the locker room, looked at his salary, looked at his other options… maybe Jack’s next on the chopping block. I’d hate to see it, but I’d definitely understand it.

        Anybody else have thoughts on Jack’s future with the team?

      2. I think Jack’s here through 2013. He covers a couple of bases, and is, by all accounts, a positive influence in the locker room. I don’t see many other teams lining up to take his salary off the Timbers, he’s guaranteed through 2013 at least and I believe MLS rules stipulate you can only buy out one contract without it affecting your cap (and that’s Boyd’s) so even if we cut him, we’re still on the hook for his salary against our cap, so we’re as well keeping him if we’re going to have to pay for him anyway.

        Though, admittedly, I could be wrong on that. I’m sure someone with a better knowledge of the Byzantine MLS salary rules will correct me.

  3. I agree with Mike. I think Song’o’s biggest problem was that he is not a possession guy, he is a flair guy. He could beat one or two defenders and dazzle us with his moves, but that rarely yielded anything. When Messi does his razzle-dazzle it usually leads to a goal. Otherwise he is passing it into position. When Song’o did his razzle-dazzle it was usually mid-field and the end result was us thinking how cool he was but that was about it.

    Not a shocker he is gone, but I am bummed. But I would be far more disappointed if Jack left.

    I wonder what this means for Kalif, who seems to be a meeker, yet younger, Song’o. Maybe he is considered trainable?

    1. I think it’s hard to get a feel for how effective Songo’o might have been with more mobile teammates around him. I often suspected that he would dribble into trouble just because he got tired of waiting for the runs off the ball that never happened and decided to try and break something on his own.

      At the same time, he HAS been on teams with better teammates and it is somewhat telling that he is no longer with those teams…

      And, again, the whole behind-the-scenes business makes Kalif’s persistence hard to gauge. Is he looked at as “better”? More “teachable”? Or simply “cheaper” and thus less expendable?

      1. I was expecting (at least) one of Kalif or Franck to go. With Alhassan, I think you have someone younger, cheaper and, perhaps, a little more pliable. He’s also someone that GW clearly likes, so I suspect that would help tip the scales his way, and he’ll be given a chance to put his 2012 injuries behind him and prove himself. 2013 is do or die for him, IMO.

        Songo’o and Boyd are similar in that you can make a case with both that they didn’t really fit in because the guys around them weren’t good enough/on their wavelength, but equally you can argue that they were too inconsistent/lazy/selfish and that’s why it didn’t work. I always got the sense with Songo’o that he was an individual who operated on the periphery of the collective. Again, it may be that he felt he had to take it on himself, or it may be that he’s just that kind of player, but I think if there is one clear, defining characteristic of Porter’s system it’s that all about the XI working as one. Songo’o and Boyd don’t really fit into that aesthetic, whereas a Jack Jewsbury, for all his flaws, is a team guy and will fulfill a role when needed. I don’t think he’s a starter, and his salary is probably way out of whack with his importance (on the playing side, at least) but he’ll have a part to play that I just don’t think Songo’o had.

      2. My problem with that is that last season was so effed up that I find it hard to generalize from it. Up to Colorado away I’d agree with you completely; Songo’o appeared to be a technically gifted guy that wasn’t really interested. He’d drift in and out of the match, was wretched at marking back, and generally looked like a guy singing along with the song in his own head.

        But the early substitution in the match seemed to shake him up and piss him off. The latter part of the season he was a much better player, and a much better TEAM player, than he had been earlier. Either his fitness, or his willingness to stay on the pitch, improved. He started tracking back when we lost possession.

        He still tended to get caught in possession and stripped of the ball. And I’m not saying that’s not a minor transgression. But I’m also not sure of how much of that was him, and how much was him looking for an outlet to pass to…and not finding one.

        Whatever the reason, philosophy or cost, it does seem that he was not considered important enough to keep around, while, as you say, Kalif is younger and less expensive and Jack is the consummate team guy…

      3. Good questions John. But really, Song’o’s style doesn’t play into what I imagine Porters plans are. But who knows?

  4. I just want to say, for the record, that I really don’t like this “newest comments go to the top” system. Can we go back to the old way, Kevin? Oldest comments at the top, work your way down? Thanks.

      1. I wasn’t aware it had changed. Must’ve got changed up when it switched over (briefly) to Disqus. I’ll have a look at it.

        EDIT: There, that should be it fixed.

  5. I can add one tangible which Jack brings (versus any other 2012 midfielder): a hard accurate shot from distance. Granted he didn’t do it often, but like Adam Moffatt or Beckham, when he did it was a screamer and the other team has to respect that. Nobody ever bothers to close Chara down up top because they know he won’t shoot. Alexander, Kalif, Songo’o, Zizzo — none of them have a fearsome shot.

    This will be different in 2013 with the Johnson brothers, I hope. But you need depth too. We should always have an MF on the field who draws the opposing CB out of the box.

    1. But I would argue that because he did it so seldom that other teams DIDN’T respect it.

      Combine that with our gawdawful slow ball movement and most of the other sides in the league had acres of time to respond to Jack dribbling around 25-30 yards from goal. His cracker of a goal that secured the Cup for us at Vancouver was gorgeous and I love him for it. But it doesn’t change the fact that (for me, anyway) he’s a $160K/yr substitute, and, often, on the pitch a passenger for a team that can’t afford passengers…

  6. Just to make sure that this doesn’t turn into a discussion of Franck Songo’o, let me recap the points I was trying to make with this post:

    1. Almost as soon as this move was announced – in fact, BEFORE it was announced (in the rumor post at Stumptown Footy) – it provoked what I thought was more than a little negative comment about the Timbers Front Office player management/team construction, including a reappearance of the “GWOut” meme.

    2. This suggests to me that there is a significant – perhaps not overwhelming, perhaps not pervasive, but significant – residue of supporter anger and distrust over the events of the past two seasons and particularly 2012.

    3. What I see as a big part of the problem contributing to that is 1) the history of “on-their-face-inexplicable-and-poorly-explained-to-the-fans” moves like the Perkins trade, and 2) the overall opacity of these negotiations to the average supporter in the stands.

    4. So with nothing to go on but appearance, and if the appearance suggests that the FO is making an unpopular decision regarding a popular player, even a relatively mildly popular player like Songo’o, the anger and distrust appears to be quick to surface.

    5. I imagine that if the Porter Administration is immediately successful this anger and distrust will dissipate. BUT…in my opinion the danger is that the anger and distrust will give Porter less of a grace period than Spencer had. If things fall apart – or don’t come together – early on I think the ugly residue of 2012 has the potential to expose Portland to the dreadful Spectre of Becoming Toronto.

    1. Excellent points, I agree with them all.

      If I may speak for the entire fanbase… right now, if something good happens, it’s thanks to Porter. If something bad happens, it’s GW’s fault. I don’t feel any guilt about this, though. GW made this bed. Now he has to sleep in it.

      How this group psychology evolves from here depends on how things go on the field. If we have a winning season, we’ll praise Porter and slowly forgive GW. If we have another shitty year, we’ll blame GW and slowly turn on Porter.

      This, to my mind, is the current group psychology. Let’s hope we have a winning year, so everybody can start getting along.

  7. I had the same response, Of course I would keep Jewsbury over Songo’o. Why in the world wouldn’t I? In fact, if Jewsbury had been released for the sake of Songo’o, it would have been another of this franchise’s colossal blunders.

    First off, I just don’t see where this “Jack is nice but old” theme comes from. From what I could tell, he was in fine fitness and seldom if ever had to be subbed out because he couldn’t go on any more. Songo’o on the the other hand, had difficulty playing a full 90 minutes throughout the season.

    Jewsbury has certainly slowed since he was 20, but I would not be surprised if his increased knowledge and understanding of the game hasn’t more than compensated for his lack of speed. He seldom gets flat-out beat as a defender, again something you cannot reasonably say about Songo’o, who was frequently criticized for his lax defense.

    Second, we don’t know how expensive Songo’o would have been. Last season’s salary was significantly reduced to give him an opportunity to prove he was worth the big money. Presumably that big money was written into his contract for the coming year–or at least into his expectations. Jewsbury is a great deal, salary-wise. For comparison, look at his $/goal, $/assist, or $/minute played. He would certainly rank near the top–at least in the top third–in each category.

    In addition, Songo’o takes up an international spot, a cost that Jewsbury does not bring. Given that we just traded away a future international spot, this might be significant. You can keep Charra and Jewsbury, you might have to choose between Charra and Songo’o.

    Third, the leadership role Jack Jewsbury has played should not be underemphasized. I have never seen him criticized for being selfish with the ball–something you can not say about Songo’o. Jewsbury also was regularly one of the guys cleaning up the holes left by his teammates; Songo’o was one leaving the holes.

    Last season the team saw a huge shake-up mid-season. Some teams would have imploded. Some teams would have fed the local media with a feast of locker room banter and accusations by one player against another player. You did not see that in the 2012 Timbers.

    Even amidst many predictions of complete team collapse, the players pulled *together* and demonstrated their professionalism. For better of for worse, the team did not perform significantly worse in the post-Spencer season. I cannot believe this is due to the significant coaching experience and player savvy that Wilkinson brought to the bench. Even he did not claim to be a great coach.

    Yet the tam held together. I believe that is evidence for the presence of senior leadership on this team. And who else on the team, from beginning to end, would you suggest was more of a consistent leader on and off the field than Jack Jewsbury?

    Finally, Jack Jewsbury fits the new Timbers at the start of the Porter era, Songo’o simply does not. Songo’o consistently took the ball and dribbled upfield, whatever the reason, he frequently lost the ball dribbling rather than passing. And his passing was not that great.

    Jewsbury on the other hand, is a controlled passing player. His approach to the game is not the flashy break-away solo play, but rather the build-as-a-team moving forward playing style.

    I can see why Songo’o delighted some fans, especially when he gave some flashy performances that gave the crowd something to cheer about in some otherwise cheer-bare games. I can also see why Wilkinson is so unpopular with some of the fans, and I have been puzzled by some of his moves. Sometimes it seems that the complete newcomer Paulson was making the complex player acquisition calls, a sort of real world fantasy football.

    But I do not see why anyone would suggest that Jack Jewsbury is anything but a complete asset to teh team, nor why anyone should be truly puzzled by the release of Franck Songo’o. I don’t need to be privy to secret discussions to understand why this would make a great deal of sense.

    Unlike, for example, the hiring as DP of a striker who consistently could not score against comparable or superior squads. I don’t see the trade of Perkins as disastrous but obviously something happened I don’t know about. And the “upgrade” comment was mind-boggling.

    Still, as a fan I do not expect to be privy to all of the inside negotiations. Part of the professional team/professional team fan deal is that fans are on the outside of the locker room and certainly not in a team negotiation mass conference call.

    It might also be profitable to remember that like-minded fans tend to hang together and so it is often not readily apparent to any fan what “the fans” believe. It would certainly be difficult to try and obtain some sort of consensus among the fans about any action.

    I am certainly not suggesting we have no place to disagree! I believe that a successful professional team must weigh carefully fan attitudes and perceptions, and should manage communications appropriately. No one benefits from a team whose direction flies from one compass point to another, depending on who are the loudest fans this week. Thus it is informing the fans, not securing their permission, that is of primary importance.

    The question of how much information the fans need to know about otherwise confidential negotiations and team management strategies is difficult. Perhaps given the huge number of changes to the new Timbers should cause us to err on the side of caution.

    1. Again; I didn’t want to make this about whether or not Songo’o should/needs to/ought to run out in green and white in 2013. I don’t think that there’s much to choose from between him and Jewsbury at 160K; one a little bit younger with some obvious strengths and equally obvious weaknesses, the other steady but very limited and on the downward arc of his career and – in my opinion – with a very sketchy brief as captain of a side that has been troubled over the past season.

      This was entirely about the team and its fanbase. I thought that the team has made some inexplicable decisions, many of them about player signings or trades, and that that, combined with the near-impossibility of the supporters “seeing the inside”, has got the back up a perhaps-small but vocal minority of the fans.

      But small vocal minorities, as any old Bolshevik could tell you, often swing a bigger stick than their weight should rate them.

      So I’m not really “advocating” here; either for or against Franck, or for or against or even speculating on “how much information the fans need to know” – although I’d argue that the more they know the more they will tend to understand, and the more slack they will cut the management if they think the management is dealing in good faith and trying their best to assemble a good team.

      I’m just observing that I get a sense that the Timbers Front Office has – not surprisingly – lost some of the goodwill it rolled into 2011 with. And we’ll have to see if the incoming coach and his strategies can help roll that back…

  8. Very well written piece, John. I too am very perplexed by the idea that Songo’o isn’t welcome back EVEN AT A REDUCED SALARY. That’s baffling, considering that 70K made him one of the lowest paid starting attacking midfielders in MLS.

    Also a bit baffling to me how a player with his technical ability, creativity, and training in the Barcelona youth academy wouldn’t seem to fit a new Timbers playing style based primarily on possession. Yes, Songo’o dribbled into a few too many double teams last year when nobody else was showing for the ball. No more than Nagbe though, who also managed a grand total of 1 assist all year in his role as our featured offensive playmaker.

    Perhaps what skeeves me the most is that the Timbers FO seems to continue a streak of being “Bad Breaker Uppers.” To say publicly that a player isn’t welcome back at <70K brings to mind GW's comments after the Perkins trade. I'm not so naive to think that the business of sport leaves no wreckage at the roadside, but I'm tired of the FO treating Timbers fans like we're clueless about our players' abilities.

    Jewsbury at $160K per year seems a bit spendy. Purely on soccer ability, he'll be lucky to see the field this year.
    Songo'o at less than $70K per year still seems like a steal.

  9. Jewsbury’s the wrong comparison. Others offer several good reasons to keep him. I don’t understand the comparison with Wallace. Of course I can’t know the locker room behavior but on the field I’d take Songo’o every time (maybe except when Wallace plays for Costa Rica).
    I’ve followed Timbers since they started back up but not closely enough until MLS to develop a real mistrust of GW, but I definitely feel like he’s earned it. He’s clever (negotiating for HGP rights before anyone else thought of it – smart) but I can’t believe all the boneheaded moves we’ve made we’re entirely on Spencer and GW’s penchant for giving a kick on the butt on the way out is so unprofessional I’m left thinking he’s just out of his depth in understanding players in MLS.
    I’ve thrown my trust with CP. If he’s successful and GW is still around in 3 years then maybe the trust comes back.
    Did anyone really have to say the Timbers didn’t want him back “even at a reduced cost”? I want honesty and class from the FO. I think CP is trying to give that. I’ll hold my judgement on others-but it doesn’t look so good this far.

  10. Does “even at a reduced cost” mean reduced compared to last year ($70k), or reduced compared to what his contract was for this year (unknown amount >$70k)?

    Also, here’s a tidbit: Songo’o is mentioned in the recent 60 Minutes report on FC Barcelona and its youth academy, La Masia. It comes when someone is listing players coming through the system ~10 years ago — Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, some other names everyone has heard of, and… Franck Songo’o. The commentary is along the lines of “most of these players are stars for teams throughout the world.”

    Key word there, “most”.

    1. That’s part of the problem; it’s hard to be sure. My guess is that even after a season like 2012 it would have been hard to justify reducing Songo’o’s salary. So my guess is that the “reduced cost” means “reduced from his projected raise for 2013 based on his existing contract”. Meaning that he might have been costing the Timbers something more like $100-150K instead of, say, $200-250K. But whatever the cost, he was clearly seen as surplus to requirements.

      And I was never really all that impressed with the whole business of Franck’s La Masia pedigree. The bottom line was, rather, that Barca had a look at him…and decided he wasn’t good enough. So did several other European sides. He had a single half-season of semi-decent football marred by obvious holes in his game. I’m not sure that this makes him a good option for the Timbers in a rebuilding season – clearly Porter & Co. did not.

      It’s just that I wish I knew WHY not. Was it purely based on cost? Then ISTM that we have several other, spendier players we might have wanted to think about 86ing before Songo’o. Was it based on play? On his chemistry with the rest of the team? On the coach’s assessment of his part in the system he wants to install?

      Since we don’t and can’t know its easy to let frustration, paranoia, and an earned distrust of the Ginger GM run wild.

      Hopefully the new Porter Administration can right the ship and we won’t be having these sorts of discussions again.

      1. I would be interested in knowing what information you believe team owners/managers ought to tell fans about the reasons for transfers, trades, etc. I just saw an article about Toronto sending a real fan favorite, Plato, away for a measly 2nd round draft pick. . . in 2015!

        But they just say “doesn’t fit with our plans…”

        I guess some would wonder if Toronto has any plans sensible to someone outside of management.

        I don’t mean to say that Toronto has it together, or that (heaven’s forbid) others should model their FO’s after Toronto. But it does highlight the question “how much should fans expect to know?”

        and along with this is the complementary unasked question “how much should management expect to show their hands to other teams, outside analysts, and potential competitors for future signings?

        So what do you believe is the optimum amount of information a club should give to its fans about why a player is leaving? Should the “you’ve embarrassed yourself but we won’t tell if you leave” escape be eliminated? How much should fans expect would be the minimal amount of information they should expect?

        Is there some way of informing some fans about the reasons for a decision without the decision becoming public? Or is “informing the fans” equivalent to “going public” with the information?

        I hope you see these as real questions. I was just reflecting what I might counsel a professional sports franchise to act. For example, should the management potentially put some future deal at risk, or perhaps tip their hand in a way that could lessen the team down the road in order to have more disclosure about a decision now?

      2. All I can say is what I said earlier: I’m not really “advocating” for “how much information the fans need to know” except to argue that the more they know the more they will tend to understand, and the more slack they will cut the management if they think the management is dealing in good faith and trying their best to assemble a good team.

        So I have no idea whether “total disclosure” would help or hurt and might do both depending on whether it showed the team trying to negotiate in good faith or if they weren’t. In cases like the Perkins trade, where there were persistent rumors about Perkins’ confrontations with Gavin even the most publicly accessible balance sheet might not have allayed suspicion.

        But in general I think the virtues of secrecy are overrated. I think that most players’ agents are quite familiar with the teams’ financial situation and have at least a passing acquaintance with the managers and their team-building methods. I don’t think that teams often “steal” players from other teams, or “blow deals” by being upfront about their negotiating positions. I suspect that 99 out o 100 people “around the table” know perfectly well what the other side CAN offer. It’s up to the parties involved to wrestle out that they WILL offer versus what the player will accept.

        And I think it actually helps the club if the supporters get as much “inside information” as the club can reveal without endangering themselves with the taxman (which, I suspect, has a lot to do with all this secrecy – the desire to conceal profit from the people who’d like to seize some of it…)

        I think that most of us understand that Merritt doesn’t have the deep pockets that many of the other ownership cartels do. Coming out and saying “We like Fanck’s committment and while he has good individual ball skills,given his tendency to dribble into trouble and, given that we see Sal Zizzo as our preferred starter over Franck at right mid we just can’t justify paying him 150K a year to ride the bench…” would, at least, give the fans a starting point to argue that – while “I like Franck I see where the club is going here…”

        Instead the financial and dressing room opacity combined with the history of GW’s (and possibly Spencer and possible Merritt – hard to tell who’s pulling the strings around this joint…) history of iffy player decisions…well, you see where we are. Let Porter go 0-3-1 in April and watch the uproar.

      3. I agree. It’s important to remember that systems like Barca’s – and other famous youth factories like Sporting in Portugal or Ajax in Netherlands – is that those places are like ye olde time goldpanners. They’ll sift through a lot of “could-bes” to find that one nugget. They spit out a ton of 18, 19, 20 year olds that’ll never amount to anything more than decent.

        It’s great to have it on your CV but in all honesty in 95% of cases it means nothing more than someone showed promise as a kid, but never cut it. I always felt with Songo’o, as with many, it gets overplayed. The better gauge of Franck’s ability is where he went and what he achieved since, and that’s not a great deal in this case.

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