Channel hoppers: Five fantastic Ligue 1 prospects to look out for
With tabloids full of transfer tales surrounding PSG starlet Adrien Rabiot and prolific Marseille frontman Andre-Pierre Gignac’s possible preparations to cross the channel, Coral writers decided to take a look at who else may be primed for a winter window move.
Below are our five fantastic picks from Ligue 1, who could potentially make an instant impact at Premier League clubs this January.
Wissam Ben Yedder (forward, Toulouse)
At age 24, Ben Yedder is about to come into the peak of his powers, and has already drawn attention by bagging 34 Ligue 1 goals in 87 outings for Toulouse. The French-born forward of Tunisian descent has already netted six times this term and has previously been linked with Liverpool.
Ben Yedder could be ideal as an alternative foil for the Reds’ Daniel Sturridge, as the tricky, skilful striker is adept at creating space for himself and would have eagerly gobbled up many of Liverpool’s spurned chances this campaign. The Toulouse talent can also fashion opportunities for others, having provided five assists last season, but Premier League clubs keen on the starlet could now face competition from Spanish giants Barcelona.
Nabil Fekir (attacking midfield, Lyon)
The exciting 21-year old attacking midfielder has scored four Ligue 1 goals for Lyon this season, and has been growing in influence for the former French giants since he burst onto the scene for his hometown club in 2013.
Of Algerian descent, thrilling Fekir has followed in the footsteps of former Lyon starlets Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa by being called-up to the France Under-21’s squad. He still has a lot to prove before earning a full cap for Les Bleus senior side, but interest from Algeria could see him make the step up to senior international football sooner than expected.
Versatile enough to play a number of attacking roles, Fekir would fit fantastically into Ronald Koeman’s high-flying Southampton side. However, the highly-rated youngster has been making such waves that only a switch to a big-money club seems plausible and no doubt Arsene Wenger will be watching.
Florian Thauvin (attacking midfield, Marseille)
Thauvin, likened to Franck Ribery in style, would surely be difficult to prise away from Ligue 1 leaders Marseille in January, having started all of his team’s matches.
The graceful wingman was impressively productive for a 21-year-old last term, contributing 11 goals and six assists to the cause in all competitions. Thauvin has lost a little of his limelight to impressive teammates Gignac and Dimitri Payet this season, though, and now may be the time for interested party Arsenal to pluck him from Marcello Bielsa’s grasp, before his price hikes any further.
Ben Mendy (Left back, Marseille)
Another impressive regular for Bielsa’s boys is 20-year-old defender Mendy. The powerful defender has made 10 appearances this term, providing three assists, and has long attracted interest from abroad. The ambitious youngster has already stated his interest in arriving on British shores, although not for a permanent stay.
Mendy said: “I would like to spend two seasons in Ligue 1 and then go to England. I would then like to go to Barcelona, where my idol Dani Alves plays.”
Sebastien Corchia (right back, Lille)
Corchia recently turned out for Lille (outsiders at 66/1 to win the Europa League) against Everton, providing much of his side’s attacking intent, and at 23 years old is ripe for a move to further his career. A regular for the France Under-21 team, the dangerous defender is yet to earn a senior cap, and may need to head further afield to fulfil his ambitions.
Whilst he will have no doubt impressed Roberto Martinez, the Toffees are well-covered in his role, but Merseyside rivals Liverpool could certainly do with a fresh face in the full back position. Spurs are also suffering from Kyle Walker’s poor form, making north London another possible destination for the former Gunners target.