Several experts believe France are among the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia, even though Didier Deschamps’ men have not clinched their berth in the tournament yet. And who could blame them? France have lots of talent on both sides of the ball. And they already showed it in the EURO last year, where they finished in second place.
However, their good form would not be possible if their respective players were not performing at the club level. And if the current transfer window is of any indication, then French players are taking over the football world by storm.
Currently, France feature the most expensive defender and midfielder in the world. And if recent reports are true, then they might have the most expensive player of all time as well in their squad. Without further ado, let’s take a look on the transfer activity around some of the members of Les Bleus this summer.
Who would have thought two years ago that Benjamin Mendy would become the most expensive defender in the world? Certainly not me. But that is exactly what happened after Manchester City signed him for a reported €55 million fee. That might sound excessive, but the market has been out of control during the last few years. And 2017 has not been the exception to the norm.
Mendy plays as a left back and even though he should be the starter in Manchester City, that is not out of the question in France. He will battle with Layvin Kurzawa and Patrice Evra for the left-back role. Lack of depth, anyone?
Tiemoue Bakayoko grabbed headlines all over Europe after scoring the goal that eliminated Manchester City out of the UEFA Champions League. The defensive midfielder quickly became one of the top players in Europe last season, and leaving Monaco was inevitable. He made the switch to the EPL, and signed for Chelsea for a reported €40,5 million fee.
Similar to the case of Mendy, Bakayoko is not a starter for the French National Team. And in fact, it would not be a shock if he is out of the 2018 World Cup squad. After all, France has Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Moussa Sissoko, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot and Corentin Tolisso, just to name a few.
Thomas Lemar should remain in AS Monaco next season considering the massive exodus in the Ligue 1 champions. However, he has been a top target for several Premier League sides. Recent reports have indicated The Gunners are the front-runners to land the coveted 21-year-old winger, and are set to sign him for a €50.3 million fee.
Lemar has only been capped by the Les Bleus five times, although he has the potential to gain a bigger role in the short-term future. But considering he will battle with players such as Dimitri Payet and Ousmane Dembele for a spot on the squad, it would not be a surprise if Lemar is not included in the 2018 World Cup squad. It seems the only move for him would be to join Arsenal in order to increase his chances of featuring in Russia next year.
Ousmane Dembele has been a rumoured transfer target for FC Barcelona this summer. However, Borussia Dortmund are reluctant to part ways with their 21-year-old star winger. Apparently, Los Blaugranas have stopped their pursuit of the former Rennes star. Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Manchester City have also been involved in the race for the attacker. But BVB do not want to part ways with Dembele for anything less than €90 million.
Dembele’s rise to fame has been meteoric, and so it has been his involvement in the French squad. He has been starting on a consistent basis over the past few matches, and even though he only has seven caps and one goal to his name, he is set for a bigger role in the near future. He quickly became one of the most explosive wingers in Europe over the last season, and it seems the sky is the limit for him.
The writing on the wall was there for Lacazette since the end of last season. The talented forward did not want to remain in Lyon much longer, and the club granted him his wish. The former Lyon star netted 37 goals in 45 matches for Lyon across all competitions last term. And he decided to join Arsenal, as The Gunners paid €53 million for his services.
The 26-year-old forward has been playing as a backup in the French squad, and currently sits behind Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Dembele, and Kylian Mbappe in the forwards’ depth chart. He would likely come off the bench in the National Team. But that does not mean he is not a talented player. Several squads would want him as their starting forward.
Last but not least, we have Mbappe. And his case is the strangest, by far. The 18-year-old phenom is coming off an impressive season with Monaco, scoring almost 30 goals and leading the attacking line next to Radamel Falcao while winning the Ligue 1 and reaching the UEFA Champions League semifinals. There is no question he is a talented player. But does he deserve to be the most expensive player in football history?
Real Madrid apparently agreed to a massive €180 million offer for Mbappe. The offer would split in a €150M transfer fee, and €30M in objectives. Yes, you read that right. An 18-year-old who is yet to play 100 games as a professional is worth €180M. That sum would shatter last year’s record from Pogba, making him the most expensive player in the world by a large margin.
Dance of Millions
If we make a quick count, we have €468,8 million between the six players mentioned above. And keep in mind we have not discussed players such as Pogba or Antoine Griezmann who, if available, would probably command transfer fees nearing the €100 million mark.
Maybe French should be considered the favourites for the 2018 World Cup title. There is no other team as deep and as talented as them in the world right now. And this transfer window has been the perfect backup to that statement.
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