Ligue 1 imports: France-based stars potentially heading to Premier League
It seems as though the Premier League will make raids across the channel this summer, with English clubs potentially set to plunder their French counterparts.
So which Ligue 1 superstars are, or could, be bound for the bright lights of England’s top-flight? And what can they offer? Coral writers bring you our verdict on five who may arrive…
Exuberant Ayew is quite the coup for Swansea City, who fended off significant interest in the former Marseille wingman to tie him to the Liberty Stadium on a four-year contract.
Swans fans should be excited, as the tactically versatile attacker will be able to bolster the squad by filling numerous gaps, including in both midfield and up top, though his pace and power are best utilised on the wing.
Always up for putting in a shift, Ayew’s more direct style should see him give Garry Monk’s possession-based philosophy an edge, though despite his tenacious style the 25-year-old is no slouch in the passing department, and his physicality should see the Ghanaian adapt swiftly to England.
Ayew’s younger brother Jordan, 23, a strong centre forward, is currently plying his trade at Lorient, and is rumoured to be on several Premier League clubs’ radars. Will the Swans try to pair up these talented siblings?
Watch Ayew at his best:
Linked strongly to West Bromwich Albion (9/2 with Coral to be relegated in 2015/16), goal machine Gignac would be a steal for any club outside the top four on a Bosman. The soon-to-be ex-Marseille marksman is already 29, so there is not much scope for dramatic improvement, though the French frontman hit 21 league goals and could have an impact similar to Southampton sharpshooter Graziano Pelle.
When kept fit, Gignac has an unrivaled nose for goal and could prove a perfect pick-up for Everton to lessen the scoring burden on Romelu Lukaku.
Lyon are rightly hoping to hang on to their star striker, but Lacazette has already understandably attracted interest after his attacking exploits saw him crowned Ligue 1 top scorer with a superb 27 strikes.
Somewhat of a complete package, lethal Lacazette has come of age this season, and is able to play anywhere across the frontline as well as lead it, due to his impressive acceleration, strength and ability to turn defences inside out.
Much-lauded clubmate and compatriot Nabil Fekir is perhaps not yet ready for a big move, but Lacazette, 24, certainly is, and could make the difference for a top club such as Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester rivals City and United. Expect a bidding war for the France forward’s services, with Lacazette stating he will only leave Lyon for a Champions League club.
Lacazette’s Lyon highlights:
Zaire-born France back-up keeper Mandanda has made strides this season just gone, though the custodian, another Marseille man, has been one of Europe’s most consistent for some time.
A commanding presence and also club captain, at age 30, Mandanda, who has supposedly interested Crystal Palace and kept 12 clean sheets in his most recent campaign, should surely tempt clubs with European football. Southampton need a stand-in for sidelined Fraser Forster, and could certainly utilise the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year.
It seems almost inevitable that Marseille’s attacking midfield talent will arrive at West Ham, having racked up a tremendous 21 assists in Ligue 1 over the past season, and much expectation would proceed the productive 28-year-old should the Londoners seal the deal.
The Hammers (33/1 to win the 2015/16 FA Cup) are reported to have made an improved offer for the playmaker who can operate centrally and wide, and the Upton Park faithful would be in for a treat to see the France international, who is back in the Bleus’ first-team fold, link up with Stewart Downing.
Take a peek at what Payet can offer: