The summer transfer market is always a strong illustration as to why Ligue 1 has branded itself the “league of talents” with many European clubs opting to do their shopping in the French topflight. This year has been no different with Real Madrid plucking Aurelien Tchouameni from AS Monaco and West Ham United moving fast to snare Nayef Aguerd from Stade Rennais who also sold Mathys Tel to Bayern Munich. Despite raids on other clubs such as Crystal Palace swooping in for RC Lens‘ Cheick Doucoure, there is still plenty of talent left in Le Championnat and some surprising big names too.
Our pick of the best France-based names.
Lille: Jonathan David
Expected to be a leading name in this summer’s transfer window, the Canada international remains with Lille OSC for now. Still only 22, he netted 15 times last season despite a dry patch mid-season and Les Dogues’ struggle to replicate their 2021 title success. David has seen Real Madrid and Bayern Munich links come and go, but LOSC’s signing of Mohamed Bayo suggests that Paulo Fonseca’s men are ready for his departure when a suitable offer arrives.
PSG: Arnaud Kalimuendo
One of the most coveted names in French soccer so far this summer, the 20-year-old is back with Paris Saint-Germain after consecutive loans with RC Lens. Scorer of 12 goals last campaign, Kalimuendo has shown promise in preseason friendlies under Christophe Galtier’s watchful eye and there could yet be a squad role for him. However, the signing of Hugo Ekitike, and the interest of clubs such as Leeds United, Rennes and OGC Nice could yet tempt PSG to cash in on the youngster who is competing with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar for minutes in attack.
Lens: Seko Fofana
One of last season’s outstanding performers in Ligue 1, the Ivory Coast international is a wanted man and the Northerners has fielded enquiries from domestic clubs and beyond for the 27-year-old. With Doucoure and Jonathan Clauss moving on, Frank Haise has already seen two key components leave the club and he will not want to lose another integral piece. However, every player within the project has their price and super talent identification and acquisition means that RCL are well prepared to potentially see him go.
Lyon: Houssem Aouar
Once the Olympique Lyonnais golden boy, the France international’s form has suffered along with that of his team in the past few years and the 24-year-old remains at Groupama Stadium. There were rumors about Real Betis earlier this summer, but nothing has materialized so far with substantial interest in teammate Lucas Paqueta also being fielded. OL’s latest push has been to repatriate former youth academy stars so Aouar could yet be part of a homegrown revolution, but he has made it clear that he would like to spread his wings as soon as possible and potentially follow in Nabil Fekir‘s footsteps.
Rennes: Martin Terrier
Given the sales of Aguerd and Tel already this summer, it is difficult to see Rennes cashing in on the 21-goal Frenchman now — especially with the defensive reinforcement taking time to come to fruition. There has been interest from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur who since moved to Richarlison, but the 25-year-old’s prolific explosion last season will have many clubs across Europe keeping tabs on his situation should a bid be tabled.
Keep an eye on …
Although those five are arguably the top picks from Ligue 1 right now, there are several other gems waiting to be plucked by European giants. Angers SCO‘s Angelo Fulgini had to wait patiently until he finally got his move to Mainz 05 this summer and there are others in that same bracket with RC Strasbourg Alsace’s Ludovic Ajorque and FC Nantes pair Alban Lafont and Ludovic Blas on the radars of numerous continental outfits.
There are also some of the higher profile names such as Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile, Nice’s Khephren Thuram and Olympique de Marseille’s Bamba Dieng who have been the subject of Premier League interest in recent months. With another month of business left, there is still plenty of great value to be had within the French borders.