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AC Ajaccio: Maxime Chanot "does not honor his commitments"

The scathing statement from the club raises questions ahead of the former New York City defender's presumed move to LAFC.

Courtesy New York City FC

Maxime Chanot and French Ligue 2 club AC Ajaccio officially parted ways ahead of Chanot's expected move back to MLS to join Los Angeles FC.

Earlier today, the former New York City FC defender was formally let out of his contract with the Corsican club, clearing the path for him to return to the United States.

It's not all smooth sailing for Maxime, though: Ajaccio released a scathing 212-word statement that detailed the messy circumstances of the split with Chanot. The unusually critical press release includes some choice words directed at the Luxembourg international's behavior, and his commitment to his now-former team.

Here is the official Ajaccio statement on Chanot leaving the club, translated from French and quoted in full:

AC Ajaccio formalizes the departure of Maxime Chanot. Find the club press release:

At the beginning of February, at the end of the winter transfer window, Maxime Chanot requested an interview with management to request a termination of contract. The reason given, a family imperative. At the end of the interview, the club categorically refused the departure of its central defender due to the imposed timing. Following this refusal and in the face of the individual performances that followed, both on the field, in training and in club life, Maxime was no longer 100% under our colors. The player contacted management on numerous occasions, first by proposing an increase in his contract and ultimately turning around and leaving whatever happened. Maxime Chanot, in his last interview, expressed his difficult choice: to stop his career so as not to abandon his family or to be released from his contract. Faced with this behavior and this situation, the sports management and the club decided to part ways with the player because his presence would have been negative or even counterproductive for the group, at a time when sporting issues are still important. AC Ajaccio cannot imagine keeping a player who does not honor his commitments and who cannot give 100% to defend his colors.

The final sentence of that statement, that Chanot is "a player who does not honor his commitments," is the harshest. Notably, it's pointed at a player who was a natural leader and role model during his time in New York City, and was widely considered the beating heart of NYCFC.

What's going on with Maxime?!?

This rapidly unfolding, messy Chanot transfer saga has us once again wondering: What's going on with Maxime?!?

We first asked this question in August 2023, when Chanot suddenly and unexpectedly left NYCFC. The move came out of the blue, and was initially presented by the player and the club as centering around Chanot's desire to play closer to his family in France.

That rationale took a hit almost immediately when Chanot was seen on social media making suggestive and borderline critical comments about his former head coach, Nick Cushing, in the hours following one of NYCFC's matches.

Chanot later clarified that everything was fine between himself and New York City FC. When asked about his departure during his interview with Hudson River Blue, he said the team helped him even in leaving. But he also admitted he wanted to retire with NYCFC.

This statement from Ajaccio, and the details it shares of Chanot's request to leave, seem to somewhat mirror parts of what happened between Chanot and NYCFC — the wording around Chanot's reasons for wanting to leave are similar, and the timing is mere months apart.

In his final interview for NYCFC and its team media channels, Chanot explicitly says within the first minute that he left New York City for Ajaccio because he "had an opportunity to sign a very last contract to play in front of my family."

That "very last contract" has now been torn up, and according to Ajaccio, largely due to Chanot's request and his subsequent behavior after the request was rejected.

Angela Autier-Chanot, the wife of Maxime, posted a reply on X earlier today.

La Fabrique and La La Land

Now Chanot is returning to American soccer to potentially compete against New York City FC with a different club in MLS, while also still in the early stages of launching his New York City-based youth soccer academy, La Fabrique.

How much, if at all, does that academy plan and work factor into this decision and "transfer" that's less a transfer, and more a breakup?

And how does this sudden Ajaccio departure connect to his NYCFC exit, given it comes so soon after that awkward split from the club Chanot helped lead for parts of eight seasons?

When HRB interviewed Chanot in late January, he sounded committed to still playing for multiple seasons and also committed to New York City as an eventual home.

He said that he'd traveled from Corsica to New York seven or eight times since that previous August when he left the club, and now he's alleged to be telling Ajaccio that a "family imperative" has him needing another change of scenery, and apparently a move to Los Angeles, clear across the country from New York.

LAFC is on Twitter, a site now trying and failing to be called X, teasing a new French-speaking signing. That might be for AC Milan striker and France's all-time leading goalscorer Olivier Giroud, but more likely now that he's been summarily dumped by Ajaccio, it's a forthcoming confirmation of Chanot's arrival.

One would think that seeing all this drama unfold between Chanot, Ajaccio, and LAFC, supporters and followers of New York City FC might change their perspective on Chanot's August 2023 departure. While something might have been amiss between Chanot and his head coach, there looks to be more going on with the player as he gets set to join a third club in seven months.

Perhaps Chanot will shed some light on this situation when his LAFC signing is confirmed, but it's a head-scratching turn of events to follow for a New York City FC legend.