With the January transfer window fast approaching, a number of Ligue 1-based transfer rumours have started to circulate.
Moneymen Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco will no doubt be busy on the market in the new year, but a number of Championnat-based stars have also been linked with a move away.
France has traditionally been a source of excellent value for European clubs in both the summer and winter transfer windows, and plenty of players will be attracting interest over the next month.
Here are 20 transfer rumours to keep your eye on in the buildup to January.
The controversial Romanian striker appears to have reached the end of the line with AC Ajaccio.
After last season’s relatively impressive 11 goals in 28 appearances, he has featured nine times so far this term without scoring a single goal.
Having been suspended from the Romanian national team for mocking coach Victor Piturca, the troubled 34-year-old will join Romanian top-flight side Petrolul Ploiesti on loan in January according to Sky Sports.
Coached by long-time friend Cosmin Contra, the Yellow Wolves will be Mutu’s first Romanian club in 14 years.
Having seen his chances of regular playing time stalled by the reintegration of Baefetimbi Gomis and Jimmy Briand into the Olympique Lyonnais side, Yassine Benzia is growing disillusioned at life with the Stade Gerland-based club.
According to Eurosport France (translated from French as a bilingual), the talented 19-year-old attacker is the subject of interest from Ligue 1 rivals Girondins de Bordeaux, Montpellier Herault Sport Club, FC Nantes and Stade Rennais.
In just three starts, the French under-21 international has scored once and provided two assists. However, they all came in the 3-1 win away at FC Sochaux-Montbeliard in August.
Another in-demand full-back is AS Saint-Etienne’s left-sided defender, Faouzi Ghoulam.
The Algerian international has been a regular feature in Christophe Galtier’s side this year, despite a summer episode that resulted in his being banished to the reserves.
Since returning to the side, he has worked his way into the Algerian national setup under Vahid Halilhodzic (pictured).
Now, the 22-year-old is attracting attention from the likes of Italian giants AC Milan according to L’Equipe (in French).
Despite having tumbled down the Ligue 1 table over the past month or so, Toulouse FC’s 5-1 win over struggling Sochaux has boosted them up toward mid-table.
One consistently good performer, despite TFC’s mixed form this year, has been Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier at right-back.
Despite the 20-year-old telling L’Equipe (h/t Sky Sports) recently that he is happy at the Stade Municipal and wants to continue to progress under Alain Casanova, a reasonable bid might be enough to force the club’s hand.
Despite having fought his way back into the team after almost being forced out in the summer, Olympique Lyonnais’ Bafetimbi Gomis is once again courting interest.
OL President Jean-Michel Aulas admitted to Canal Plus (h/t ESPN FC) after Sunday’s demoralising 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that a number of clubs have made enquiries for the French international.
English Premier League side West Ham United are believed the be one of the front-runners for his signature.
Another striker possibly on the move in January is Lille OSC’s Salomon Kalou.
Following last season’s prolific feats, when he netted 14 times in 28 appearances, he has struggled this term despite Les Dogues’ good form.
Nolan Roux has been in impressive form, netting five league goals so far this year.
His fine goalscoring fettle, plus Kalou’s recent admission that he is open to a Premier League return per ESPN FC, could spark a handful of suitors into action next month.
Although it is thought that Victor Valdes will not be leaving Barcelona until the end of the season, AS Monaco could be tempted to move for the Spanish international goalkeeper early to avoid any competition.
According to former Monaco and Barcelona player Ludovic Giuly, Les Monegasques’ interest is genuine, as reported by ESPN FC's Ian Holyman.
With Claudio Ranieri faced with a number of defensive problems as the principality outfit struggle to mount their predicted title challenge, ASM may launch a move ahead of time.
Earning a tidy sum for the 31-year-old instead of losing him for nothing in the summer could also appeal to Barca, assuming they can find a suitable replacement who is also eligible to play in Europe.
Over the summer, Olympique Lyonnais captain Maxime Gonalons was at the centre of a mini transfer saga with both AS Monaco and SSC Napoli tryin to sign him.
L’Equpe (in French) report that the Italians will launch another bid to sign the French international in January.
Considering how poorly OL’s campaign has gone so far, it is a deal that the club might be forced to consider.
Olympique Lyonnais will be loath to get rid of their captain, Maxime Gonalons, having already lost so much talent over the past two years.
AS Monaco’s 17-year-old French sensation Anthony Martial was one such talent.
Having been patient in waiting for his chance in the first team at Stade Louis II, at the expense of an injured Radamel Falcao, the teenager is taking his opportunity in Claudio Ranieri's (pictured) starting XI.
However, it has not been easy for the former OL starlet, and according to L’Equipe (in French), Les Monegasques should be braced for an inquiry into a possible loan from Italian side Juventus.
Another Ligue 1-based attacking talent who could be on the move come January is FC Nantes’ Filip Djordjevic.
The Serbian international has been in prolific form so far this year, netting eight times in 15 appearances.
Djordjevic has rejected Les Canaris’ offers of a new deal thus far and, following a rant at the club’s poor organisation earlier in the year—as reported by Ian Holyman of ESPN FC—looks set to leave in either January or the summer.
Leading the chase for his signature next month are English Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Hull City according to the Mirror's Darren Witcoop.
One curious name to have been intermittently linked with a return to Ligue 1 in recent months is Ronaldinho.
The former Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan man told Canal Plus (h/t ESPN FC) in October that he wants to end his career with PSG, the club who gave him his first chance to shine in Europe.
Former Olympique Lyonnais midfielder and Brazillian international teammate Juninho Pernambucano also backed the move when talking to RMC Radio (h/t Goal.com) last month.
Olympique de Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac could be one of a number of potential big-name departures from Ligue 1 in January.
The OM striker has struggled for form at times this year, despite leading the club’s scoring charts with six strikes so far.
Mercato 365 (article in French) report that West Ham United are interested in Gignac, as well as Bafetimbi Gomis as mentioned earlier.
In light of AS Monaco's recent defensive struggles, a defender will likely be top of Claudio Ranieri's shopping list in January.
According to Record (h/t the Express), Les Monegasques are prepared to activate the French international's £42million release clause.
Expected to face competition from the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Barcelona, few of those sides will be able to afford to meet his buyout price as easily as the Ligue 1 side.
Paris Saint-Germain are flying in Ligue 1 at present, but everything is not rosy for Javier Pastore.
The Argentine, who was the first player bought by the club during the Qatar Sports Investments era, has struggled for form and game time so far this season, with the €42million man’s reputation being questioned.
Pastore has been linked with loan moves to AS Roma and Olympique Lyonnais of late.
However, the 24-year-old told RMC Radio (h/t ESPN FC) after the 4-0 win over OL that he has no desire to quit the French capital just yet. Whether or not PSG are as determined to keep him, remains to be seen.
It is a similar situation for Javier Pastore’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate and fellow Argentine international Ezequiel Lavezzi.
El Pocho has struggled to impress so far this season, scoring just one league goal, and he has been usurped in the first team by Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Italia (h/t canal-supporters.com in French), the player’s agent, Alejandro Mazzoni, is in Paris to discuss a potential return to Italy with Inter Milan.
One Argentine international who could be making his way to Ligue 1 is Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria.
AS Monaco are once again looking at reinforcements, despite the good start to the season they have made in attack.
According to Mercato 365 (in French), the 25-year-old is being tracked by Les Monegasques, who will have to be without Belgian wing sensation Yannick Ferreira Carrasco until the new year through injury.
With the 32-year-old’s contract due to expire next summer, David Moyes could be tempted to cash in come January instead of losing Evra for nothing next summer.
The principality side would appear to be his most likely destination.
One of the biggest potential departures from Ligue 1 is that of Blaise Matuidi from Paris Saint-Germain.
The French international midfielder is out of contract next summer, but because of a legal wrangle between his past and present agents—as per a report from ESPN FC's Ian Holyman—the 26-year-old is unable to sign a new deal at present.
Should the issue not be resolved by January, PSG may be forced into considering bids for one of their key players in order to avoid losing him for nothing next summer.
A potential free agent of Matuidi’s ability will be viewed as sensational business by a number of clubs targeting him on the cheap.
In order to offset Blaise Matuidi’s potential departure, Paris Saint-Germain are chasing Juventus’ Paul Pogba, according to Football-Italia.
PSG have stated that they will not sell in January, but that is likely under the assumption that Matuidi will have signed a new deal by then.
If the new deal is signed, the French champions’ interest in Pogba will likely cool until the summer.
However, if Matuidi inking an extension is still not possible, then PSG could accelerate their interest in the French international.
The biggest transfer story of the moment, though, is Radamel Falcao’s potential premature departure from AS Monaco.
El Tigre has only been with the principality club since the summer, but recent speculation has forced the club to already rule out the possibility of a January move in public (h/t ESPN FC).
Currently injured, the Colombian international has scored nine goals in his first 14 appearances.
However, Falcao has not been in the best form of his career as he struggles to adapt to the rigours of French domestic football.
Real Madrid and Chelsea are sure to rekindle their interest if a move away from France in January becomes a possibility.