10 Ligue 1 Transfer Moves That Should Happen in Summer 2014
Once again this summer, France and Ligue 1 will be looked towards as the source of plenty of good value-for-money business by a host of European sides.
Traditionally an excellent competition for nurturing talent and then selling it on to other, bigger European sides, that looks set to continue this summer with a number of players already linked with exits. It should not be anywhere near the recent exoduses that the French top flight has witnessed in recent summers though.
France and le Championnat are becoming more adept at keeping hold of their top talents though and while a number of players are expected to move on, there are also plenty that will likely stay even though they could attract their clubs substantial fees.
Here are 10 players who are expected to move on this summer.
After another excellent season personally—even if it has been a rather disappointing one for his club Montpellier HSC—highly rated midfielder Benjamin Stambouli looks set to move on.
La Paillade president Louis Nicollin has already confirmed to Le Midi Libre (h/t ligue1.com) that the versatile 23-year-old will be allowed to leave at the end of the season, along with teammate Remy Cabella. Olympique de Marseille would appear to be a good fit, while Everton have been credited with an interest per the Mirror.
With his contract expiring at the end of next season, it appears that Montpellier will cash in on Stambouli now instead of risking losing him for nothing by trying to persuade him to extend his stay at the Stade de la Mosson.
Although not currently a Ligue 1 player, West Bromwich Albion’s on-loan midfielder Morgan Amalfitano is expected to return to parent club Marseille this summer. Once he does, the player has admitted to L’Equipe (h/t ESPN FC) that he does not know what the future holds after that.
The creative 29-year-old talent is thought to be interesting the likes of Everton, Fulham, West Ham United and Sevilla—according to the article—and with managerial changes expected at Stade Velodrome, he could find himself surplus to demands.
Amalfitano has scored four goals and provided four further assists since joining the Baggies last summer and could prove to be a bargain signing this summer for any club willing to pay a small fee for the Frenchman.
Olympique Lyonnais are set to miss out on UEFA Champions League football once again this season, trailing third-placed Lille OSC by nine points with just three games remaining. Failure to qualify for European football’s most prestigious club competition means that les Gones will likely be forced to sell one or more of their top talents this summer to balance the books.
Top of the list of potential departures is OL captain Maxime Gonalons who—according to his agent—will likely complete a move to Italian side SSC Napoli this summer after a similar switch broke down in January. The 25-year-old’s representative Frederic Guerra told Radio CRC (h/t ESPN FC) that the deal for the French international is already close to completion.
Gonalons’ loss would be a big blow for coach Remi Garde who has worked minor miracles with limited resources at Stade Gerland this season. However, an expected €17 million fee would enable Lyon to keep a number of other important stars.
The time also appears to have arrived for Toulouse’s talented right-back Serge Aurier. The 21-year-old has enjoyed his best season to date at Stade Municipal, scoring six Ligue 1 goals and providing as many assists in 31 appearances.
An Ivory Coast international, Aurier has been a long-time target for English Premier League side Arsenal according to ESPN FC’s Christopher Atkins. With Bacary Sagna yet to sign a contract extension at the Emirates Stadium, the Toulouse man could be an ideal replacement for the French international.
There is no shortage of interest in Aurier, with TFC’s domestic rivals Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco also thought to be interested according to the Daily Mail.
A second Lyon talent that is likely to be on the move this summer is enigmatic playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.
For years the gifted 27-year-old has been seen as the natural heir to Zinedine Zidane’s throne for the French national team, but a disastrous few years at Stade Gerland have seen that talk fade. Instead, the former Girondins de Bordeaux man will be looking to resurrect his career after refusing a new reduced salary contract earlier this year per ESPN FC.
The French international could now be set to move for as little as €5 million this summer and—provided that he stays injury-free—could represent an attractive gamble for a number of coaches across Europe.
FC Lorient are a club renowned for their eye for an intelligent transfer deal and that applies both to buying and selling. Les Merlus have made nurturing players and selling them on for a substantial profit an art form over the past few seasons and they appear to have a highly valuable talent in their possession at present.
Cameroonian international Vincent Aboubakar was signed on a free transfer last summer and the 22-year-old has hit 16 goals and provided six further assists to help Christian Gourcuff’s side to 12th in le Championnat.
Savvy businessman and president Loic Fery has likely already seen the potential profit in the former Valenciennes man. Although speculation surrounding the physically imposing striker has been muted so far, expect a host of clubs to show an interest once the season is over.
Considering that he was a free agent less than 12 months ago, Aboubakar could prove to be one of the bargains of this coming transfer window.
Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis is another Ligue 1-based attacking talent who will almost certainly be on the move this summer.
After a very public falling out with OL president Jean-Michel Aulas—where the 28-year-old was almost forced out of the club against his wishes—the French international suggested earlier this year to French media (h/t ESPN FC) that he could extend his stay at Stade Gerland past this summer.
Gomis’ contract extension has not materialised yet though—despite netting 13 Ligue 1 goals in 30 appearances as well as laying on one assist—and the former AS Saint-Etienne man looks set to become one of this summer’s bargain free agents.
Another striker who will be looking for a new club come the summer is Lille OSC’s Salomon Kalou.
The Ivorian international has enjoyed two fruitful seasons at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, but is believed to be attracting interest from a handful of English Premier League clubs per the Independent.
Kalou was thought to be keen on a move away from les Dogues this summer, but Champions League qualification could yet persuade him to stay in northern France. The 28-year-old has managed 13 goals and four assists in 35 appearances for Rene Girard’s side this season.
Montpellier could be dealt a double blow this summer with the news that the club are willing to listen to offers for their star man Remy Cabella as well as Stambouli.
In the same interview with Le Midi Libre (h/t ESPN FC) in which he revealed that the latter will be allowed to leave, la Paillade president Nicollin also conceded that Cabella will probably leave the club too.
The creative 24-year-old talent has top scored for Rolland Courbis’ with 14 goals and five assists in 34 appearances and was the subject of an accepted transfer bid from Newcastle United in January. However, the move did not materialise and the Magpies will have to wait to try again.
Cabella will have attracted even more attention with his performances over the second half of what has been a largely frustrating campaign for 13th-placed Montpellier.
There is currently plenty of speculation surrounding the impact of the impending UEFA Financial Fair Play settlement that Paris Saint-Germain are reported to have been offered, per BBC.co.uk.
The majority of it centres on Edinson Cavani and whether or not the French champions would be willing to sacrifice the Uruguayan international after just one season in the French capital. The Mirror are the latest to have suggested that his future could lie with Manchester United.
However, PSG will be far keener to get rid of a genuinely underperforming South American and not one who has still managed a respectable 16 league goals despite being played out of position.
The time has come for the Parisians to admit defeat with Javier Pastore and try to get the enigmatic Argentine playmaker off their books.
Using him as bait in order to snare one of the capital club’s reported targets could be the best bet as his woeful recent performances—wonder goal against Chelsea in Europe aside—have seen his value plummet well below the €42 million spent on him in 2011.
One goal and no assists in 26 appearances tells you all you need to know about Pastore at the Parc des Princes. He simply does not fit in there. Expect PSG to exhaust every possible avenue to shift the likes of Pastore before reluctantly countenancing the sale of Cavani.