AGONA Profile: Yohan Mollo, the gifted Frenchman requiring a career boost
In connection with Yohan Mollo transferring to Panathinaikos, the AGONA Profile takes a closer look at his fascinating career to date.
Mollo is deserving of the “journeyman” status. Over the course of his career, Mollo has represented 10 different clubs, with Panathinaikos becoming the 11th team in the ever-expanding list. Although he is blessed with excellent technical ability, the 30-year-old winger doesn’t have the easiest of characters, something which has prevented him from cracking it at the top level.
The Frenchman will add plenty of flair and attacking imagination to this young Panathinaikos team.
PROGRESSION THROUGH MONACO ACADEMY, CAEN LOAN
After progressing through the ranks at Monaco, Mollo first broke into the senior team in 2008, making his debut in a 1:2 defeat to Nancy. In the 2008/2009 campaign, the Frenchman competed in 24 Ligue 1 matches, catching the eye with an impressive two goals and six assists. Statistics which displayed the potential which Mollo boasted.
In the following season, Mollo continued to be a part of the Monaco team, but he failed to build on the promise which he had showed in the previous year and was consequently loaned to Caen for the 2010/2011 campaign. Mollo popped up with four goals and two assists in that particular Ligue 1 season.
UNSUCCESSFUL GRANADA TRANSFER, FRANCE RETURN WITH NANCY
In the summer of 2011, Monaco sold Mollo to Granada of La Liga for 500,000 euros, but it was a doomed transfer.
During the first half of his maiden season in Spain, Mollo only played in a grand total of seven matches for Granada without performing at his level, and the Spaniards decided to offload him on loan to Nancy in the winter. Mollo would never return to Granada as Nancy signed him on a permanent basis when the season ended.
PROMISE WITH NANCY
Mollo shone in the opening weeks of the 2012/2013 Ligue 1 season. Mainly playing on the right flank, he regularly made the difference for Nancy, netting three goals and dishing out five assists before St. Etienne pounced in the winter transfer window. St. Etienne loaned Mollo for the remainder of the season and later signed him permanently.
MOVE TO RUSSIA
It didn’t quite happen for Mollo with St. Etienne. While he showed flashes of his talent, Mollo wasn’t able to claim a regular place in the starting line-up, often left on the bench until the latter stages of matches in Ligue 1. In his second season with the club, he did start to finally flourish, but it was short-lived and Mollo was loaned out to Krylya Sovetov Samara in August 2015.
RUSSIAN SUCCESS BEFORE FAILED ZENIT TRANSFER
Mollo quickly became a fans’ favourite in Samara. In truth, Krylya Sovetov have always been a rather average side in the Russian Premier League, but Mollo stood out with his flair and ability to beat players one-on-one. In his first season in Russia, Mollo made six assists with Krylya Sovetov, playing in all positions across the front line.
Zenit Saint Petersburg, the 2008 UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup winners, parted with three million to sign Mollo in January of 2017 after the footballer had made a blistering start to the season.
A transfer which was a mistake for both parties.
His miserable spell in Saint Petersburg was one of the most difficult moments of his career. On the pitch, Mollo simply didn’t look at home at all, and reports in the Russian media suggested that his tricky character was becoming a big problem in the dressing room. Mollo was consequently sent to the Zenit reserves to receiving playing time.
Towards the end of the season, Mollo uploaded pictures and videos on Instagram of himself laying half-naked in bed with another man. In fact, that man in question was confirmed to be his father, but Zenit supporters mocked him with offensive chants. Mollo was pictured raising his middle finger to Zenit fans during a reserve game.
That incident nailed the final nail in his awful Zenit stint, and in August 2017, the Saint Petersburg giants terminated his contract.
STRUGGLES WITH FULHAM, KRYLYA SOVETOV, AL RAYYAN AND SOCHAUX
After leaving Zenit, Mollo has played for Fulham, Krylya Sovetov (again), Al Rayyan and Sochaux in a very short space of time. Sadly for Mollo, he didn’t perform overly well with any of those clubs, however he did show a bit of promise with Sochaux by scoring two goals and making three assists in Ligue 2.
His transfer to Panathinaikos is crucial. Yes, Mollo is blessed with wonderful technical ability and can make the difference, but he must find that consistency which has so far eluded him. Mollo is most comfortable when on the wings.