Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ligue 1 2019-20: The five best signings of the French transfer window

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 9 Aug 2019

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The new Ligue 1 season kicks off on Friday, with Monaco taking on Lyon in the opening match.

The transfer window in France does not shut until September 2, but it appears most teams in France’s top flight have attempted to get their business done in time for the start of the new campaign.

Paris Saint-Germain cruised to the league title last season, though with uncertainty over Neymar’s future will Thomas Tuchel’s side find things so easy this season?

We look at the five best signings by Ligue 1 clubs heading into 2019-20.

5. Joachim Andersen (Lyon)

Danish youngster Andersen enjoyed a breakthrough season in Serie A last term, impressing at the heart of Sampdoria’s defence.

The 23-year-old’s performances drew interest from big clubs across the continent and it was Lyon who secured his signature, agreeing a deal with Sampdoria that could reach €30million.

A dominant centre-back, Andersen – who scored an own goal in the 3-1 friendly loss against Liverpool on July 31 – has all the attributes to be a leader for Lyon, who have undergone something of a rebuild after the departures of Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele to Real Betis and Tottenham respectively.

4. Predrag Rajkovic (Reims)

Highly rated Serbian goalkeeper Rajkovic agreed a four-year contract with Reims, having signed from Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

The deal is something of a coup for Reims, who reportedly snapped the 23-year-old up for just €3m amid reported interest from Rennes, Sevilla and Monaco.

Rajkovic won the European Under-19 Championship with Serbia in 2013 and the U20 World Cup two years later, while at club level he has lifted league titles in his homeland and Israel.

3. Idrissa Gueye (PSG)

Big-money, big-name signings are usually on the menu for PSG, but the reported €32m (£29m) signing of defensive midfielder Gueye from Everton could present an exceptional piece of business.

Though still a sizeable sum for a 29-year-old, Gueye should more than prove his worth in a side that were too often exposed defensively last term, especially in the Champions League.

PSG failed with a bid for Gueye in January, but the Senegal international did not let his form drop and played a crucial role in Everton’s fine end to the Premier League campaign. With him anchoring the midfield, it should provide Thomas Tuchel’s attackers full licence to do what they do best.

2. Timothy Weah (Lille)

Son of Ballon d’Or winner and president of Liberia George, Weah had been at PSG since 2014. The 19-year-old forward left to join Celtic on loan for the back half of last season.

Weah scored three goals in Scotland’s top flight and has now moved away from the Parc des Princes on a permanent basis.

With Rafael Leao and main man Nicolas Pepe having left, Lille are in need of a new goalscorer and the United States international – who has been in the shadow of Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – could well be the one to provide that firepower this season.

1. Pablo Sarabia (PSG)

If Gueye provides PSG with some much-needed solidity in midfield, then Sarabia will add even more sparkle to Tuchel’s sensational front line.

Signed for a reported €20m, Sarabia could prove a bargain. The Spaniard scored 22 goals across all competitions last season and accumulated 13 LaLiga assists – as many as Lionel Messi.

With Angel Di Maria the wrong side of 30 and Neymar’s future still up in the air, Sarabia could emerge as a superstar this campaign.

The 27-year-old started off on the right foot by setting up Mbappe for a goal in the Trophee des Champions triumph over Rennes.

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