French international Mathieu Debuchy was an early mover in January's transfer window
Ligue 1 traditionally plays a big part in each European transfer window, and this January looks set to be no exception. With a number of big-name moves being mooted, France’s top flight provides a high-quality and affordable alternative for teams priced out of players in their own domestic markets.
The Premier League in particular sources a lot of talent from across the Channel, and if 2013’s early moves are an indication, there will be plenty of business done between the two leagues. Ligue 1, of course, boasts the financial might of Paris Saint-Germain, but aside from the pre-arranged transfer of Lucas Moura, look unlikely to spend. Departures, though, look more likely.
With Lyon and Marseille keeping the pace with PSG, the pair will need to reinforce to maintain their title bids. A host of talented youngsters are also attracting envious glances from all over the continent. France is a good place to shop come transfer window time.
To keep up-to-date with the latest transactions in Ligue 1, stay tuned here.
Mathieu Debuchy finally granted his wish to leave Lille
Lille’s French international full-back had long been linked with a move to Newcastle United before he actually made it. Subject of intense speculation last summer, the 27-year-old stayed put through no choice of his own. This season’s problems at LOSC, though, have made a January exit easier, as has Debuchy’s mixed form.
All but confirmed days before the window officially opened, the Frenchman joins former teammate Yohan Cabaye at St James’ Park. Les Dogues’ inability to offer European football meant that an early exit was appealing to the club who are now cost-cutting in order to balance the books. Former Chelsea attacker Salomon Kalou could be next after a disappointing first six months with the underperforming 2011 champions.
Debuchy, though, fulfills his ambition of moving to the Premier League when it looked at the start of the season like he’d missed the boat.
One big-name arrival that Ligue 1 was guaranteed of before the transfer window even opened was Lucas Moura’s arrival at Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian wonderkid arrives with a €45million price tag and stated his ambitions early on by claiming that he wants to become the world's best player.
The reason for his delayed arrival? PSG agreed to allow Moura to finish the Brazilian season with former club Sao Paulo before arriving to sweeten the deal and ensure that they got their man. The French giants beat off a host of other suitors, including Manchester United, to sign the 20-year-old, and his arrival comes at the perfect time, as Carlo Ancelotti’s attack look in need of some extra pace.
Lucas won’t be expected to make an immediate impact on the first team despite his growing reputation; more likely, Ancelotti will turn to him from the bench. His addition to a talented Champions League roster too will come as a big boost.
Valenciennes’ talented playmaker secured a switch to Marseille days before the window opened. Running out of contract in the summer, Daniel Sanchez’s side opted to take the money now before inevitably losing Kadir in the summer.
In the deal, Marseille gain a creative midfield outlet who can contribute going forward too. Kadir has six goals and four assists to his name so far, and given OM’s reliance on Andre-Pierre Gignac and the impending departure of Andre Ayew for African Cup of Nations duty, the French-born Algerian international will be a boost for Elie Baup’s side.
VAFC, it seems, have learnt their lesson from Renaud Cohade’s summer departure to Saint-Etienne. Cohade was a huge part of the Stade du Hainaut outfit’s style of play, but they lost him on a free when he could have commanded a considerable sum of money. This time, they have not totally missed out. However, Kadir’s shoes will be big ones to fill, particularly on a budget.
Landreau's veteran presence will be vital for Bastia
Released in the weeks before the opening of the transfer window, Mickael Landreau’s departure from Lille is a sign of how badly things have gone for les Dogues this season. The French international cited the deterioration of his relationship with the club as his reason for rescinding his contract, but didn’t waste any time in finding a new club.
The 33-year-old opted to join Bastia, reportedly shunning the likes of Inter Milan and Bologna to join the Corsican minnows. Although the move likely puts paid to his hopes of winning any silverware for the time being, the sporting value of the project is high and Landreau’s experiences will be invaluable to the club.
Also, Landreau’s departure from Lille paves way for Steeve Elana to finally stake his claim for a starting role. It had been a strange move bringing in the former Brest stopper with Landreau in such good form, and it was hard to see how either would react to playing second fiddle. The move guarantees the former PSG man first team football, which obviously was no longer possible with les Dogues.