Ligue 1 transfer window: good deals to be had in the Premier League


By: Manu Tournoux

Due to the winter break, Ligue 1 offers its players a three-week break each year. The opportunity for the players to breathe after an often frantic first part of the season, but not for their managers. Behind the scenes, the 18 elite clubs have already rolled up their sleeves to best prepare their recruitment. Because if it rarely turns out to be as expensive as its summer cousin, the winter transfer window still offers clubs a re-reading of what did not necessarily work in the first half of the championship. The opportunity to supplement sometimes poorly proportioned squads, to compensate for certain imponderables such as injuries, or quite simply to jump on market opportunities. Without detracting from the work of the French recruitment cells, which are sufficiently competent to assess their shortcomings, here is a list of activities that certain French training would be well advised to carry out, particularly on the English side. Within reason.

Former Ligue 1 players on the market

On the English market, there are several former Ligue 1 players looking for a rebound. This is particularly the case of Thilo Kehrer on the West Ham side. Having left PSG in the summer of 2022 to fulfill his Premier League dream, the German international is now navigating troubled waters. This season, the 27-year-old has only taken part in 4 Premier League matches (18 minutes of play). Eager to relaunch six months before a Euro at home, the player trained at Schalke has no shortage of courtiers, with a versatile profile (he can play in all 4 defensive positions). In recent days, we have mentioned on our site the interest of Rennes, Monaco and Nice for the player, but also of Bayern Munich. In the same vein, Said Benrahma (28 years old), condemned to a replacement role with the Hammers and not selected for the CAN with Algeria, will need to give a new boost to his career. With his unbalancing profile, the player trained in Nice could bring his enthusiasm to certain French clubs, like Nice, OM and OL, already on the file. The same applies to Maxwell Cornet. Forgotten by Jean-Louis Gasset for the CAN at home, the 27-year-old winger has only played one minute this season in the Premier League with West Ham, where he is under contract until 2027.

And what about Nuno Tavares ? If he made rain and shine for OM last year, the Portuguese still has energy to spare. At 23, the left-back must limit himself to counting butterflies on the Nottingham bench, where he has been on loan from Arsenal since this summer. A new freelance in Ligue 1 could allow him to find color, even more in a transition team where he would have the opportunity to optimize his qualities as a counter-attacker. He can also play left back, even if he has mainly built his reputation in the center. Unreachable at Chelsea where he does not even appear in Mauricio Pochettino’s groups, Malang Sarr must get back in the saddle. If his time in Monaco last year remains very forgettable, the 24-year-old has shown in the past in Nice that he can solve problems, and above all, that he knows a lot about the French championship ( he played in Ligue 1 for five seasons). He also worked his way before being exported to West Ham in 2018. But today, Issa Diop clearly no longer enters into the plans of his coach Marco Silva at Fulham. Since his return from injury, the solid 26-year-old defender has seen his status decline, and must now be satisfied with a replacement role. This is also the case of Han-Noah Massengo, occasional guest in the Burnley group. Totally uninhibited upon his return to France, to Auxerre, last year, the player trained in Monaco has not played a single second in the Premier League this season. With his box to box profile and his touch of creativity, the 22-year-old could provide serious service.

Hopes in the hard

In addition to the struggling Ligue 1 veterans, several hopefuls are experiencing a void this season. This is particularly the case of the electric Colombian winger Luis Sinisterra. Tracked by OM in the summer of 2022, the 24-year-old striker finally joined Leeds, then Bournemouth this season, where he is on loan. But with the Cherries, it’s hard to imagine him being satisfied with his replacement role that he has held for weeks. Impactful, destabilizing, it could certainly bring life to the corridors of big clubs, like OM, which will have to cope for almost 2 months without Ismaïla Sarr. In a different register, Mikkel Damsgaard is also looking for a second wind. Revelation of Euro 2020 with Denmark, the 23-year-old attacking midfielder, undermined by injuries, is now a member of the Brentford bench. His creativity and technical palette could spark sparks in Ligue 1.

In a championship where the number 9s are struggling to continue (behind Mbappé, Wissam Ben Yedder, second top scorer in L1, only has 8 goals), certain high-ranking teams would be well inspired to seek Armando Broja. If he has shown good things in sequences with Chelsea, the Albanian has displayed a glaring lack of confidence for weeks. Renowned for his composure and his quality as a finisher, he has not found the net since October 2, in the shadow of Nicolas Jackson. However, it is difficult to imagine Chelsea letting go with the departure of their Senegalese to the CAN. Two Spaniards, who will have the ambition to travel to Germany with La Roja in June, could recover their health in France. This is for example the case of the versatile Sergio Gomez, used only twice by Pep Guardiola this season in the Premier League. Capable of occupying the left-back position, but trained as a midfielder at Barça, the 23-year-old is currently looking for the right path. In a club aspiring to play for European places, he could totally flourish. Same story for his compatriot Bryan Gilstill struggling at Tottenham since his signing in 2021. Confusingly, the 22-year-old winger would cause a lot of problems for the French defenses.

Experienced players looking to get their heads back on track

For certain clubs looking for experience, like OL which recently surveyed Baptiste Santamaria and Nemanja Matic for its midfielder, Leander Dendoncker could also look like a real solution. If he scored in his last match against Manchester United, the Belgian international (32 caps) appears to be an alternative in the eyes of Unai Emery at Aston Villa. Responsibilities out of sync with his ambition to participate in Euro 2024 with Belgium. Able to occupy the positions of central defender and defensive midfielder, the 28-year-old is estimated at 11 million euros per Transfermarkt. He too is in a delicate situation. Arrived free this summer, Mahmoud Dahoud (27 years old) has been stuck in the depths of the Brighton bench for weeks. During the last 4 meetings, the German international remained on the sidelines without ever coming into play. A situation that is anything but conducive to a return to the selection.

Arnaut Danjuma can say the same. The Dutch international, who caused a sensation with Villarreal during his European epic two years ago, is today stuck at the bottom of the wave. Tracked by OL as we mentioned on our site in recent days, the explosive 26-year-old winger had an ordinary season at Everton, and never started. Clubs in need on the wings could get a good deal by signing him. To another extent, Cedric Soares could also bring his experience to several clubs in France. Unused by Mikel Arteta this season in the Premier League, the 2016 European champion has not been called up since 2022 with Portugal. It’s hard to imagine him claiming a return to the group given his current situation. Aged 32 and with a well-rounded CV, the right-back is, according to our information, being followed in Turkey, where Besiktas and Trabzonspor have recently come to take the temperature with his entourage. France could also serve as a showcase for the Euro.

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