Transfer Window Special: Viva La Français! The talents of Ligue 1

We have already taken a look at some good business that could be done this window in the Holland’s Eredivisie, but where else can a good player be found at a good price? France’s Ligue 1 is perceived as being a feeder league to Europe’s elite leagues, but don’t let that label deceive you, French football is fast improving, however to continue the development the majority of teams will still be selling their stars for the next few seasons at least. Let’s take a look at some potential players that would fit into Premier League sides, who could be available this January if the price is right.


Aly Cissokho – Lyon

French international (1 app) left-back Aly Cissokho seems to be a magnet when it comes to transfer rumours about his future and has been linked with a move to one of Europe’s big leagues for a while. The left-back was in London during the summer, but no move materialised with Arsenal and Liverpool said to be in the market, before the latter signed Jose Enrique. The defender is keen to move and Lyon need to sell at least two ‘stars’ to balance the books, so his transfer is a real possibility despite being an integral part of the Lyon XI. Cissokho is strong, quick, can tackle, has bags of stamina and likes to get forward. Needs to improve on basics and heading – modern day full-back who would suit Premier League.

Potential transfer fee: £8m

Clubs he would benefit: Arsenal and Newcastle

Michel Bastos – Lyon

Another Lyon left sided player and they won’t want to lose two players who play in similar areas, but at 28-years-old, time is ticking for Brazilian Bastos to make a move to a top European League and Lyon are financially vulnerable. Saying that, Bastos did committed to the club in the summer by signing a two-year extension. Michel Bastos would make an excellent signing being a danger from set-pieces as well as being a versatile character who can operate at full-back or on the wing. He would be tough to get, but if the money was right then Lyon would have to think about cashing in.

Potential transfer fee: £18-20m

Clubs he would benefit: Spurs, Arsenal, Newcastle

Mamadou Sakho – Paris Saint-Germain

Mamadou Sakho is one of the rising stars of French football and has enhanced his reputation over the last three seasons playing regularly for PSG. The young centre-back has looked a commanding figure at the heart of the PSG defence and at only 21 it bodes well for his future. A player that can also operate at left-back, Sakho has earned a reputation as a defender with bags of athletic ability as well as possessing the technical attributes to take him to the top. Whether PSG would entertain offers for him is another thing!

Potential transfer fee: £12m

Clubs he would benefit: Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bolton


Marvin Martin – Sochaux

2011 was a great year for Marvin Martin, he was in great form for Sochaux throughout the 2010/11 season and was rewarded with a call-up to the full French national side at the end of the season, repaying Laurent Blanc’s faith with a brace on his debut and has gone on to make 9 appearances in total for Les Bleus. Martin is a central-midfielder of great quality, he stands at only 5ft 7ins and as you would expect is a highly-technical player rather than someone who is blessed with pace and power.  His eye for a pass is as good as the technique that executes it – he is a typical play maker. He is a player that would need to improve the physical side of his game to excel in the the Premier League, but the potential is there.

Potential transfer fee: £8-10m

Clubs he would benefit: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Aston Villa

Mathieu Valbuena – Marseille

Marseilles diminutive winger is currently leading the way for assists in Ligue 1 with 9 and is having another good season for manager Didier Deschamps. The winger has had to change Deschamps mind on his value to the team and remains one of Marseilles top players. For a small man he loves to get stuck in and works hard on the defensive side of his game. He comes to life going forward; he is rapid in the dribble and can easily take on opponents, he is a great crosser and passer in general and can shoot – technically he is one of the best in France. Marseille need the money and could be reluctantly tempted to sell.

Potential transfer fee: £12m

Clubs he would benefit: Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa

Étienne Capoue – Toulouse

There has been a lot of talk over the past year about Toulouse’s midfield, the name you have probably heard more times than not is that of Moussa Sissoko, the talent box-to-box midfielder, but the man backing him up is Étienne Capoue. The defensive midfielder possesses a lot of quality and would be considerably cheaper than his midfielder counter-part Sissoko who won’t be sold for less than €30m, whilst there is also Rennes’ star Yann M’Vila who would cost €20m. Capoue is a player that is a lot more mature than his 23-years old would suggest, he is a captain in the making and has a commanding presence holding the midfield infront of a back four. He has a great engine, good tackling ability as well as being a hard-working, quick and physical player.

Potential transfer fee: £12m

Clubs he would benefit: Aston Villa, Fulham, Liverpool, Sunderland


Loic Remy – Marseillie

Despite only being in his second season at Marseille, French International striker Remy could be one of those prize assets sacrificed to get the club some much needed cash that is currently restricting them to only the loan market. Remy has been a top striker in Ligue 1 for some time now and has the attributes to push on and become one of the world’s best if his attitude is right. Remy has established himself in the French side and will expect to go to Euro 2012 if his performances are good enough. Harry Redknapp has already confirmed his interest in the striker as the 6ft forward has the physical attributes to suit the Premier League. He is good in the air, strong and quick, but is technically gifted also and the boy can finish – he is averaging 1 goal every 2 games in Ligue 1. He has a big personality, plus the confidence/arrogance to be one of the best, exciting prospect.

Potential transfer fee: £18m

Clubs he would benefit: Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle

Olivier Giroud – Montpellier

A player few would have heard of, playing for a club few would consider as a ‘good’ Ligue 1 team, but this season is different. Montpellier current sit second in Ligue 1 and owe that league position in the main to striker Giroud who has hit 13 league goals. The 6ft 3ins striker has been a real handful and despite you potentially not being to au fait with the player, he has been a 1 in 2 goal-a-game man for most of his career. He is also joint third in the assist charts, which demonstrates this striker is no one trick pony. He can dominate in the air, but is impressive on the deck with great touch, vision and technique for a big man.

Potential transfer fee: £15-20m (Despite chairman demanding £40-£50m)

Clubs he would suit: Top 6 sides as Newcastle et al are ‘too small’ according to club president!

Jires Kembo-Ekoko – Rennes

It is highly unlikely that Rennes striker Jires Kembo-Ekoko will be a name that familiar to you. He is a youngster that has only just forced his way in to the Rennes XI since coming through the youth ranks after his education at Clairefontaine. The striker has impressed this season with 7 league goals, making him joint third top-scorer in Ligue 1. He plays in a style reminiscent of Jermain Defoe, he can shot with either foot, goes past players with ease, is quick, powerful and great technically. He mixes the goals he scores; he is dangerous from  free-kicks, whilst being able to finish from both inside the box as well as long-range. He still has to improve and prove he can perform regularly, but could be a bargain and do a job in the Premier League.

Potential transfer fee: £5-7m

Clubs he would benefit: Bolton, Newcastle, Aston Villa, QPR, Fulham

This entry was posted in Emerging players, January Transfer Window, Ligue 1, Player Profiles, Premier League. Bookmark the permalink.
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  1. Gary the Gunner says:

    Would take a few of them at Arsenal – especially Cissokho. Pity about the Remy to scum rumours, great player, the new Henry my mate said.

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