The market stars:
Eden Hazard, 21 years old from Lille OSC
The story so far: Best youth player of the league in 2009 and 2010, best player in 2011 and on its way to hold his title with a stunning scoring and passing record (16 goals and 12 assists so far). Enough said.
Summer action: This summer biggest gem of the market, aged 21, he is coveted by every major team in Europe despite having shown nothing on the international stage either in the Champions league or with the Belgian squad. With no Euro to play, he will be fitter than most when the new season will begin.
Price tag:Definitely above £30M, maybe 10 more.
Destination:Any of the top-top teams with deep pockets. That is Manchester City or Chelsea and eventually United and Arsenal, knowing that the possible absence of champions league football for the London sides could be too hard to overcome.
Olivier Girroud, 25 years old from Montpellier HSC
The story so far: The fairytale of a footballer who escaped the net of youth detection and academies and still made it to the top is his. 20 goals in 30 games, a massive influence on his team’s unexpected results and a breakthrough within the French squad are his most recent achievements (read full article here).
Summer action: Will surely be a part of the French squad for the Euro as a substitute to Benzema and will deal with paperwork afterwards. His profile is of interest to many a premier league side and Montpellier won’t be able to hold on to him.
Price tag: between £10M and £20M, depending on his form in Poland and Ukraine.
Destination:Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham are possible targets, top teams clearly lacking of depth up front.
Loic Remy, 25 years old from Olympique de Marseille
The story so far: The latest “new Thierry Henry” proved everything he had to prove within the French borders. He has been the one and only player keeping Marseille afloat during the first half of this term. A succession of fatigue injuries in the second part, lead Marseille to their longest non-winning streak ever (read full article here).
Summer action: He will be an active member of the French squad in June if he manages to get out of the treatment room. He will then have to choose his destination amongst a long list of courtesans. Marseille on the other hand will probably shorten his options to the rare big payers.
Price tag: circa £20M, depending on how greedy Marseille’s chairwoman tries to be.
Destination: The London trio made of gunners, blues and spurs are top of the list. The one getting a champions league ticket will start with a huge advantage to his eyes.
The safe bets
Mamadou Sakho, 22 years old from Paris Saint-Germain
The story so far: First appeared in the Paris Saint-Germain starting lineup aged 17, the centre back never left the starting eleven and the captain armband since. Voted best youth player of the season last year, he suffered this season of an increased concurrence at his position leading him to miss the last few games on the coach’s decision. He is still probably one of the brightest defender of his generation.
Summer action: Probably within the French squad as a substitute, he will have plenty of time to list the pros and cons of an eventual move away from his childhood club.
Price tag: Around £15M, depending on the Qataris owners will to discuss.
Destination: Any top premier league team (maybe at the exception of Manchester City) could do with a talented young centre back right now. Options are wide open, with Liverpool showing a strong interest.
Mathieu Debuchy, 26 years old from Lille OSC
The story so far: The steady progression of this right back hasn’t been unnoticed to most of the scouts coming to Lille this year. To Laurent Blanc neither, as he awarded him with his first cap recently, which he converted into a brilliant display. He won everything he could imagine with Lille and now need a bigger stage (read full article here).
Summer action: He will be an integrant part of the French run in Poland and Ukraine but might secure his future beforehand.
Price tag: around £10M before the Euro starts maybe more if he did not sign anything until then…
Destination:Manchester United seemed to have a deep interest recently. Plan B includes the semi-French teams at Newcastle and Arsenal.
Marvin Martin, 24 years old from FC Sochaux
The story so far: Revelation of the closing months of the previous season, he earned his first call-ups with the French squad last June and celebrated his first cap by hitting the back of the net twice while coming off the bench! He has since been set on alternative current, as his team fights for survival in the league. Anyway, sparkles of his passing abilities are still available for anyone to watch, despite his club’ situation.
Summer action: He does not know yet for sure if he will be named in Laurent Blanc’s squad but will have for sure plenty of time to think about his future.
Price tag: Definitely below £10M, especially if Sochaux is relegated.
Destination: Newcastle and Liverpool were amongst the few showing an interest last summer and they probably will again. And never forget Arsenal on the list for a bright young French player!
Benjamin Corgnet, 25 years old from Dijon FCO
The story so far: He discovered the Ligue 1 less than a year ago but had an instant impact on his team good form and the numerous scouts always filling in the French stands. The playmaker was already linked with a few English clubs this winter but decided to stay and make sure the club stays in the top flight. And he made it, scoring XX goals and provising XX assists.
Summer action: No Euro action for him, he will have all the time he need to consider offers from England and France.
Price tag: Around £5M which would be Dijon’s record sell.
Destination: Ideal for mid table strugglers like Aston Villa, Fulham, Norwich, Sunderland and more…
Alain Traore, 23 years old from AJ Auxerre
The story so far: He made his Ligue 1 debut over the course of the previous season but truly got under the spotlight during the current one. He is considered as the key player, the one reason why there is still hope of survival for a club ranked bottom at the moment. The defensive midfielder is the best scorer of the team as well as the best rated one according to all the newspapers.
Summer action: He won’t be involved in any football action and will be convinced to look for a transfer if the club is relegated.
Price tag: £3M approximately
Destination: Well, Arsenal and Tottenham have always been destinations of choice for Auxerre players but he will probably be more attractive to second range sides, meaning anyone but the top 6 basically…
Jules Ntcham, 16 years old from Le Havre AC
The story so far: Well, the story is a short one. Jules never played with the professional squad yet but has been overlooked (during youth games) quite a few times by the best European scouts. Rumors are sending the latest ‘new Desailly and/or Vieira’ everywhere in Europe.
Summer action: Apparently, he will be very busy visiting training camps and facilities all over Europe…
Price tag: £1M will be fine for a club on the verge of third tier relegation.
Destination: Anywhere really! Even if Manchester United people have been the most present ones around the Havre youth pitch.
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