Eliaquim Mangala and 10 Young French Talents Ready for a Transfer

Jonathan JohnsonFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

Eliaquim Mangala and 10 Young French Talents Ready for a Transfer

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    In recent weeks, a whole host of clubs including Manchester United, AS Monaco, Chelsea and Barcelona have been linked with FC Porto’s strong central defender Eliaquim Mangala.

    According to Record (h/t the Express), Les Monegasques are prepared to activate the French international's £42 million release clause.

    In light of AS Monaco's recent defensive struggles, a defender will likely be top of Claudio Ranieri's shopping list in January. 

    Expected to face competition from the likes of the other sides mentioned, few of them will be able to afford to meet his buyout price as easily as the Ligue 1 side. 

    Following Porto’s premature exit from the Champions League, the time may have come for the young French international to leave the Estadio do Dragao in order to take the next step in his career. 

    Manchester United, Monaco, Chelsea and Barcelona would all offer him the step up in quality that he needs at this point in his development. 

    However, the newly promoted Ligue 1 outfit would likely be the ones able to offer the best overall package as regular first team football would be almost guaranteed. 

    Asking the question of whether or not Mangala is the sort of player capable of salvaging something from what has been a train wreck of a season so far for David Moyes (h/t Bleacher Report UK) is too much pressure for now. 

    Mangala would be better off making a move to a side that will able to offer him a chance to develop, with likely European football next season and a top quality squad to be a part of. 

    Monaco arguably fit the bill is every respect and would be able to pay Porto the fee that they are looking for.

    Here are 10 other French talents apart from Mangala who are perhaps also ready for a transfer.

Yassine Benzia

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    Having seen his chances of regular playing time stalled by the reintegration of Bafetimbi Gomis and Jimmy Briand into the Olympique Lyonnais side, Yassine Benzia is growing disillusioned with life at 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 four starts, the French under-21 international has scored twice and provided two assists. 

    Two assists came in the 3-1 win away at FC Sochaux-Montbeliard in August along with one goal.

    The other strike came recently in OL’s 3-1 away win at SC Bastia.

Serge Aurier

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    Despite having slipped down to mid-table after a good start to the Ligue 1 season, Toulouse FC’s excellent 2-1 win at high-flying FC Nantes gives them the chance to break into the top 10 before the winter break.

    One consistently good performer, despite TFC’s mixed form this year, has been Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier at right-back. 

    The 20-year-old has been in impressive form, scoring once and providing four important assists from defence.

    Despite Aurier 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.

    He has not hidden his preference to play for Arsenal in the future and is vocal via his social media accounts of his fondness for the Gunners.

Maxime Gonalons

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    Over the summer, Olympique Lyonnais captain Maxime Gonalons was in the middle of a mini-transfer saga, with both AS Monaco and SSC Napoli trying to sign him. 

    L’Equipe (in French) reported a few weeks ago that the Italians will launch another bid to sign the French international in January. 

    Since then, RMC Radio (h/t ESPN FC’s Ian Holyman) have claimed that Rafa Benitez’s side will bid €11 million in January. 

    Considering how poorly OL’s campaign has gone so far, sitting in ninth place at present, it is a deal that the club might be forced to consider if the player declares his interest in leaving.

    Per the same article, Gonalons had previously stated that he would not be considering a transfer until at least next summer following the speculation that surrounded him before the start of the season.

Jeremy Menez

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    Another French talent thought to be unhappy at his current club is Paris Saint-Germain’s French international Jeremy Menez. 

    At 26 years of age, the temperamental star has not yet reached the prime of his career and is growing increasingly frustrated with life in the French capital. 

    Despite scoring the goal that sealed last season’s title win, PSG’s first in 19 years, the Frenchman underwent surgery over the summer and lost his place in the starting XI while absent. 

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Bleacher Report UK), Juventus are keen to snap up Menez for a fee as small as €3 million.

    However, PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi is though to be against the idea of selling any players in January.

Clement Grenier

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    After rejecting moves abroad in order to stay with Olympique Lyonnais this summer, Clement Grenier is probably regretting his decision a little now.

    Talking to BeIN Sport France (h/t ligue1.com) he admitted that his form has not been great so far this season and that it was the right decision for him to not move abroad.

    But considering Lyon’s struggles so far this season, Grenier might find it difficult to develop any further at the club. 

    The 22-year-old has scored just twice and provided four assists all campaign and Remi Garde’s side do not even look likely to qualify for Europe next season at present. 

    Without continental football to aid his development, Grenier could be better off looking elsewhere.

Remy Cabella

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    Montpellier HSC’s Remy Cabella is a transfer target for Manchester United ahead of January according to the Guardian.

    The time may well have come for the precocious French attacking talent to leave Ligue 1 as La Paillade struggle to keep their heads above water.

    At 23 years of age, the creative Cabella is currently Montpellier’s top scorer with six goals so far this season and he has laid on a further three.

    However, the former French under-21 international is arguably no longer benefitting from playing for a team struggling against relegation to Ligue 2.

    Although not quite ready for the likes of Manchester United yet, Cabella is sufficiently prepared to take the next step in his career, whether that is in France or abroad.

Anthony Martial

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    Since Radamel Falcao suffered his mystery thigh injury against FC Nantes last month, Anthony Martial has underlined exactly why AS Monaco were prepared to pay €5 million to sign a relatively unknown 17-year-old striker from Olympique Lyonnais in the summer.

    Now 18, the French youth international has scored twice and provided an assist in five appearances.

    Prior to Falcao’s injury, Les Monegasques were ready to loan Martial according to Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas (h/t ligue1.com).

    After his performances in Falcao’s absence, Claudio Ranieri (pictured) will be less keen on that idea. 

    However, with the Colombian set to return to action soon, the talented youngster will likely be forced back onto the bench. 

    A loan move, in order to continue his rapid development, may be a better solution.

Josuha Guilavogui

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    French international midfielder Josuha Guilavogui has been a victim of Atletico Madrid’s success so far this season in La Liga.

    Since his move to Spain from AS Saint-Etienne over the summer, Guilavogui has barely featured and has made just one league appearance to date.

    For a player who was involved with Didier Deschamps’ France squad over the summer, that is not good enough and the 23-year-old may already be considering a move away from the Vicente Calderon. 

    There is no doubt that the Frenchman has the talent to succeed in Madrid. However, it is understandable that Diego Simeone is loath to change a winning formula at present. 

    A temporary move back to a Ligue 1 club, possibly former side Saint-Etienne, might be the best solution for both parties as Guilavogui tries to keep his faint World Cup hopes alive.

Blaise Matuidi

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    One of the biggest potential departures from Ligue 1 at present is that of Blaise Matuidi from Paris Saint-Germain. 

    Still only 26 and not yet at the peak of his powers, the French international midfielder is out of contract next summer because of a legal wrangle between his past and present agents—as per a report from ESPN FC's Ian Holyman.

    Because of it, Matuidi 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. 

    However, PSG lodged their offer of a new contract to the Frenchman in the summer and he must recognise that his current situation is largely of his own doing.

    It was his decision to change agents and it would not be a surprise to see him wait until the issue is resolved and then extend his stay in the French capital. 

    That is arguably his best option, in terms of development, at present.

Paul Pogba

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    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 the side from the French capital could accelerate their interest in the French international. 

    Pogba is certainly ready for a move with his development likely to be stunted by Juventus’ early Champions League exit and the limited level of competition offered in Serie A.

    Also, according to L’Equipe (h/t Bleacher Report UK) recently, PSG will attempt a €40 million move in January in order to make sure that Real Madrid do not manage to snare the precocious talent.