10 Things to Watch Out for on Transfer Deadline Day in Ligue 1
We are three weeks into the 2014/15 Ligue 1 season and some of the teams already look happy and settled with their playing squads, whereas others are looking desperately towards the transfer window. This will definitely give us some interesting things to watch out for on transfer deadline day in Ligue 1.
Some coaches are looking at it and praying for it to close as soon as possible, others are staring worryingly because it may close too soon, before they can recruit the players they need for the new season.
Apart from Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco, the other sides in the league have to work within a much reduced budget, and usually they have to sell before they can buy. There are a few teams that are trying to off-load one or two players before they can try and bring in some fresh faces, and with only of couple of days left, it could be a last-minute dash to complete their business.
The summer transfer window opened on June 10 and will close at midnight on the evening of Monday, September 1.
Here are 10 things to watch out for on transfer deadline day in Ligue 1
Can Anyone Do a Deal That Will Suit PSG's Adrien Rabiot
The future of Adrien Rabiot was supposed to be as one of Paris Saint-Germain's bright young talents. He is a home-grown talent and looked set to command a place in the Parisian midfield for years to come.
However, the gifted player's future is under a huge dark cloud due to bad advice he has received from his advisers, mainly his mother Veronique.
The Express has revealed interest from Chelsea, Arsenal, AC Milan and Roma, while the same story highlights a L'Equipe report crediting Tottenham Hotspur as a potential suitor. AC Milan could be a likely destination, with the club from Europe's fashion capital now able to use the money from the sale of Mario Balotelli to launch a bid for the 19-year-old.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc would prefer the midfielder to stay, but with a year left on his contract and both parties still a fair distance away from a new deal, there is a chance that a transfer away from capital will be completed before the window closes and that Rabiot has already played his last game for the club.
Blanc was questioned about Rabiot's future in a press conference before the 0-0 draw with Evian, and the French boss was quite frank about the situation, via Jonathan Johnson of beIN Sports.
'I think he has a great opportunity at PSG because he has the qualities to play at the club. But I think that his entourage don't have the same opinion as me,' he said. 'I respect that, but I think his entourage are taking advantage of the contract situation the player has. If there wasn't that, we wouldn't be talking about him here.'
Blanc wants him to stay, the player may even want to stay, but mother knows best.
"He needs to play regularly in high-level matches,” his mother Veronique was quoted as saying to French newspaper Le Parisien earlier this summer (h/t Jonathan Johnson via beIN Sports). “Since February he has only started five times in the league and once in the Champions League.
"He cannot afford to spend a season on the bench. At his age, if you do not progress, you regress. His ambition is to join the French national team at Euro 2016. Staying at PSG seems very difficult."
If Rabiot is still a PSG player come the close of the window, it would surely signal that he is set to leave on a free in 12 months’ time. As the deadline draws closer, it will be interesting to see if PSG's resolve is tested by a bid from one of the interested clubs.
Salomon Kalou No Longer Required at Lille
Although they needed to score, Rene Girard went into the match without last season's top scorer, Salomon Kalou, preferring to leave the Ivorian out of his 18-man playing squad.
They may have lost 2-0 on the night and dropped out of the Champions League, but that hasn’t changed the club's stance on the 29-year-old forward.
This is the latest indication that the former Chelsea player is no longer required at the northern club. It was not due to injury or tactics, it was purely to try and force Kalou into making the decision to leave the club before the transfer window closes next week.
It may seem strange that a club struggling for goals in the last 12 months is trying to get rid of a player that has scored 31 league goals in two seasons. However, Lille can no longer carry the economical burden that Kalou brings.
He is the clubs top earner, with an annual salary reported to be around the €2 million mark. The club can't maintain this, and they will hope to downsize the wage bill with Kalou's exit.
Arsenal, Sunderland, West Ham United, Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach have all been mentioned as possible suitors in recent weeks. Wolfsburg are keen, reports Martin Mosnier of Eurosport, but he is not their No. 1 target, whereas, via L'Equipe (in French), the move to Monchengladbach was 50/50 this week.
Girard will be hoping his absence from the squad selected to face Porto will help push the striker towards a decision sooner rather than later.
With Kalou gone, the club are interested in trying to recruit either Abdul Majeed Waris, via Martin Mosnier of Eurosport—who had a great loan spell at Valenciennes last season—or EA Guingamp's Mustapha Yatabare, according to L'Equipe (in French).
Both deals are non-starters until Kalou makes a move. This one could go right down to late on Monday.
Benjamin Stambouli Has a Decision to Make
After Montpellier sold Remy Cabella to Newcastle United, Benjamin Stambouli was supposed to follow suit, but the midfielder, who was raised at the southern club, is still there and even guided La Paillade to victory in Marseille during Week 2 of the season.
There have been plenty of rumours regarding his future, at one point it looked like a straight shoot-out between Swansea City and Fiorentina, via Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, but neither deal has developed.
Now, Marseille, the team he helped beat, are the closest to agreeing a deal. New coach Marcelo Bielsa needs players that are comfortable playing in his 3-3-3-1 formation and Stambouli's versatility makes him the ideal player. He could play in the back three, or anywhere in the midfield.
According to RMC Sport yesterday (in French), Marseille have made a €5 million bid that has been accepted by Montpellier, but the final say is down to Bielsa. Fiorentina have also made a bid, but it was rejected due to the finer details.
The Italian side could come back in with a revised offer, but as it stands Marseille are the front-runners.
Rennes Still Looking for Another Forward Option
Despite having a very busy summer already, Rennes are still in the market for more additions, especially in the forward department.
They had been linked with a move for Tours FC striker Andy Delort—as reported by l'Equipe—but the young French forward is in talks about a move to Wigan Athletic, reports the Press Association (via Eurosport).
Delort scored 24 goals in Ligue 2 last season and has been in demand this summer. He had been close to a deal with Charlton Athletic in the English Championship, but the move broke down although it had been close to completion.
Until a deal is signed and the player has completed a move, Rennes coach Philippe Montanier is unlikely to give up. Delort would be a great signing for the Breton side and would give them a different option upfront, alongside, or in place of, Swedish target-man Ola Toivonen.
Marseille in Desperate Need for Defensive Reinforcements
Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa is in desperate need of reinforcements before the end of the transfer window.
If the former Athletic Bilbao coach wants to continue with his 3-3-3-1 formation, or just to play three centre-backs in any variation, he needs to bring in a couple of defenders before the window slams shut.
Right now, Cameroonian defender Nicolas N'Koulou is the only first-team central defender left that played for OM last season. Nineteen-year-old Stephane Sparagna played his first game in the side's opening Ligue 1 tie against Bastia. The game finished 3-3 and he hasn't started since.
In the other two games this season, N'Koulou has played alongside left-back Jeremy Morel and defensive midfielder Alaixys Romao. The results have been far from perfect, especially the 2-0 defeat to Montpellier at home in Week 2.
OM has been linked with former player Renato Civelli, via RMC Sport (in French). The Argentine is currently with Bursaspor in Turkey, but could be tempted with a return to Ligue 1. Lorient's Bruno Ecuele-Manga has also been rumoured, but the closest deal has been for Montpellier's Benjamin Stambouli.
Stambouli would be a great move for the club, but they could definitely do with more than one defensive signing before the window closes.
Brandao Suspension Gives Makelele a Dilemma
New Bastia coach Claude Makelele had thought his transfer dealings were finished this summer, but the actions of Brazilian striker Brandao has left the former Chelsea midfielder with a dilemma.
After headbutting PSG's Thiago Motta, Brandao's punishment is set to be severe enough to rule him out for a large part of the season. The French league hearing to decide Brandao's fate is set for September 18, so Makelele will have to make a decision before the end of the week.
He could decide to continue the season with the players he already has, or he could dip into the market for another striker, with it looking inevitable that Brandao will miss most of the season.
Former Bordeaux and PSG striker Guillaume Hoarau has been mentioned by Eurosport (French), and the 30-year-old would provide the same sort of option that Brandao provides. He is another big target-man with experience in the league.
Watch for Bastia making a last-minute bid for a striker before the window closes.
Lyon Missing a Full XI Could Be Tempted into Action
It has not been the ideal start for new boss Hubert Fournier at Lyon. OL has lost three games in a row, and face elimination from the Europa League if they can't overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit away against Astra Giurgiu in Romania on Thursday.
Il y a une différence ou pas ? Me rends pas compte : pic.twitter.com/mscYf5K3K8— Raymond Jacquet (@Raymond_Jacquet) August 26, 2014
To make things worse, right now Lyon are missing 11 players that could easily make up a very talented side—one which would easily challenge for a place in the top five in Ligue 1.
Clément Grenier confirmed that his surgery went well. He will know follow an individual program for next 12 weeks. Good luck @clemgrenier !— OL News (@OLNews_eng) August 27, 2014
With so many players out, especially playmaker Clement Grenier who faces a lengthy spell on the side-line after it was diagnosed that surgery would be needed to solve his groin issue, Fournier could dip into the market again.
It's difficult to know where he needs help the most, but with Alexandre Lacazette the only striker available who is over 22 years old, some experience upfront would be a great option before the window closes.
Lens to Make Some Last Minute Deals to Help Their Survival Chances
Despite their brilliant 1-0 win at Lyon on Sunday, Lens are in need of one or two signings before the window shuts on Monday.
Financial issues clouded their summer and has led to tight restrictions on what transfer business they can actually complete. The confusion over whether or not they could actually compete in Ligue 1 led to former loanee players Alphonse Areola and Marcel Tisserand joining other Ligue 1 clubs from PSG and Monaco respectively.
Both played their part in Lens' second-place finish last season, and the club would have loved to have them back for another campaign.
Against Lyon, the subs Antoine Kombouare was able to make were aged 19, 20 and 19 years old respectively, giving you an idea of the level of experience lacking at the northern club this season.
Without a couple of seasoned veterans, it would take close to a miracle for Lens not to find themselves fighting near the bottom of the Ligue 1 table. Kombouare does have some excellent young talent available to him, but the squad is definitely lacking in one or two areas.
Kombouare and the Lens faithful will be hoping some deals can be done before the midnight deadline.
Could Real Make a Last Attempt to Sign Falcao
Pretty much since the day he joined AS Monaco, Radamel Falcao has been linked with a move away from the Monegasque club.
It looked like Falcao was set to spend another season with Monaco despite the interest from many of Europe's top clubs, but with Manchester United completing the deal for Angel Di Maria, it opens up a non-EU spot at Real Madrid.
Di Maria's move to United allows Real Madrid one more 'non-EU' spot in their squad - Falcao?— Oliver Todd (@oliver_todd) August 26, 2014
The Spanish giants have been heavily linked in the past, per the Express, and Falcao could be tempted to reunite with his Colombian teammate James Rodriguez rather than spend another season in Ligue 1.
Falcao is still getting himself back to full fitness after the harrowing knee-injury he suffered back in January and only started his first game of season against Nantes on Sunday.
The striker scored the only goal of the game and his name still carries weight around Europe. If they want him, Real will be hard to resist for the Colombian.
If he does leave, expect Monaco to dip into the transfer market for another forward. Any move from Falcao could spark a flurry of action in France if Monaco decides to strengthen from within Ligue 1.
Daniel Wass Deserves Better Then Evian Can Provide
After Danish international Daniel Wass helped Evian secure their place in Ligue 1 at the end of last season, it was expected that the midfielder would leave the club this summer and move on to better things.
Three games in and Wass is still playing his football for Les Roses, and he was part of the side that won their first point of the season at home to PSG last Friday.
Now, with no disrespect to the side from Annecy, Wass deserves to be at a club fighting for a place in European competition, not in a relegation battle. He has scored 15 goals from his three full seasons at Evian and already has two strikes to his name this campaign.
Marseille denied interest in the midfielder but Saint-Etienne are known to be keen, via But Football Club (in French), but only if they qualify for the Europa League on Thursday.
It would be a huge boost for Evian if they could rely on Wass' services for the rest of the season, but it would be a blow for the player if he wasn't able to express his talents at a higher level. For €3 million, he would be a great signing for clubs all over Europe.