5 Best Signings in Ligue 1 Not by PSG or Monaco

Nicholas McGeeContributor ISeptember 6, 2013

5 Best Signings in Ligue 1 Not by PSG or Monaco

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    It has been a busy summer of transfer business in Ligue 1, with a number of new names entering the top French division, while many other players have chosen to go the other way. 

    Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco have been the biggest spenders in the division, with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao joining the respective revolutions in the capital and in the principality.

    However, it is not just Laurent Blanc and Claudio Ranieri who have reshaped their squads; Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Bastia and others have also recruited well and appear poised for strong seasons.

    The end of the transfer window is always time for reflection, so join Bleacher Report as we look back on the five best signings not by PSG or Monaco.

Ryad Boudebouz

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    Bastia suffered a number of important losses in the transfer window, Florian Thauvin's move to Lille—and then to Marseille—had been confirmed since January, while striker Anthony Modeste and midfielder Sambou Yatabare have also left the club.

    Still, there can be no doubt that the Corsican club has recruited excellently, bringing in Fenerbahce's Milos Krasic, Lille's Gianni Bruno and Florian Raspentino from Marseille on loan, while also adding an array of players on free transfers, including Sebastien Squillaci, Ivory Coast international Romaric and attacking midfielder Adama Ba.

    However, they pulled off one of the best deals of the window on deadline day, with creative midfielder Ryad Boudebouz joining from Sochaux for just €1 million.

    Algeria international Boudebouz has been linked with a number of clubs over the years, with Inter Milan, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Aston Villa all said to have carried an interest in the 23-year-old at some point.

    Boudebouz's performances have deteriorated recently, with Sochaux narrowly avoiding relegation in each of the last two campaigns.

    Yet, there can be no denial that Bastia have snapped Boudebouz for a bargain price, and if he can rediscover the form that saw him score eight goals and provide eight assists in the 2010-11—when Sochaux finished fifth—then the islanders can afford to have ambitions of a top-10 finish. 

Dimitri Payet

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    Dimitri Payet has established himself as one of the top talents in French football in the past few years, and he has the potential to become one of the signings of the season after joining Marseille.

    The winger was sensational for Lille last campaign, contributing 13 goals and an outstanding 22 assists in all competitions. 

    Still, Lille were not able to secure European football even with Payet's excellent form, allowing Marseille to swoop in and lure the 26-year-old to the Stade Velodrome with the promise of Champions League football. 

    The early signs have been good. Payet has scored three goals in his first four games, with his transition into the Marseille side looking virtually seamless. 

    It remains to be seen whether Payet will be able to maintain that kind of form throughout the season, but if history is anything to go by, then the former Saint-Etienne should be able to provide the Marseille forward line with an exciting new dimension.

Mevlut Erding

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    Saint-Etienne have endured a somewhat difficult summer, losing striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and midfielder Joshua Guilavogui.

    Christophe Galtier has moved to try and fill the void left by Aubameyang's absence by bringing in Mevlut Erding from Rennes. 

    Erding found himself cast off from PSG in January 2012 just a few months after the club were taken over by their current Qatari owners, moving to Brittany to join Rennes. The club made a promising start to last season with Erding at the head of the attack, but they quickly stagnated and could only finish in mid-table despite the 26-year-old's 10 league goals.

    Erding has already found the net for Rennes this season before the close of the transfer window, but manager Philippe Montanier opted to part company with the Turkey international, as the former Real Sociedad boss continues his rebuilding job at the Stade de Route de Lorient. 

    Galtier will hope that Rennes' loss can be Saint-Etienne's gain. Erding is unlikely to have the same impact as Aubameyang; however, he can be a very effective frontman for a team filled with creative talents.

Henri Bedimo

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    It has been a tumultuous transfer window for Lyon, with very few players coming in and the likes of Lisandro Lopez, Dejan Lovren and Michel Bastos all leaving the club.

    Bafetimbi Gomis' exit did not materialize, despite a protracted saga that encompassed the entire summer, and the additions they did make will improve the team.

    One of those acquisitions, Henri Bedimo, should be a significant boost to Les Gones' defense. 

    The left-back slots in at a position that was one of concern for Lyon last term and should be able to make the spot his own, barring any serious injuries.

    Bedimo, 29, should bring experience and composure to a back line that had a tendency for catastrophic errors in the previous campaign.

    Lyon are unlikely to challenge Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco for the title, but Bedimo's presence should help them tighten up at the back as they set their sights on Champions League qualification.

Florian Thauvin

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    One of the saga's of the Ligue 1 transfer window finally came to an end when Florian Thauvin left Lille to join Marseille. 

    To say Lille's January move for Thauvin turned out to be a disaster is a gross understatement. 

    The 20-year-old went on loan to Bastia shortly after agreeing to join Lille from the Corsican club, finishing off an excellent season by ensuring the Corsicans' survival in the top flight.

    However, not long after he returned to Lille, it became clear he had no intention of playing for Les Dogues, favoring another transfer, this time to Marseille.

    Thauvin eventually got his wish, moving to the Stade Velodrome on deadline day without participating in a single game for Rene Girard's side.

    The attacking midfielder's actions—Thauvin refused to train with Lille for much of the preseason—were far from commendable, and he can expect a rough reception when Marseille travel to the Grand Stade Metropole in December.

    Still, Thauvin is a player of exceptional talent, with pace, vision, agility and composure in front of goal. He should be a big boost to a Marseille forward line already stacked full of weapons.