If you follow the mainstream media you would be understood in thinking that there is nothing worth watching in France apart from Paris Saint-Germain. That couldn’t be further from the truth. N’Golo Kanté’s phenomenal performances for Leicester City, leading to his move to Chelsea, has shown that there is quality throughout Ligue 1, you just need to know where to look.
This is not to say that the league is brimming with quality XI’s team to team, but what it does mean is, there are great prospects to be found throughout the top two divisions. When you scout properly, which the Foxes did, you will find them – without the need for PokemonGo.
Here are five players that Premier League clubs would be smart to take a closer look at.
Valere Germain: AS Monaco
The career of Valere Germain hasn’t followed the path you would expect from a talented striker. He was integral at the Stade Louis II when they won promotion back from Ligue 2, but when Radamel Falcao and friends turned up, he slipped down the pecking order.
Loaned out to Nice last season, the forward excelled under Claude Puel. All the headlines were given to Hatem Ben Arfa, but with 14 goals and six assists, the 26-year-old was crucial to Les Aiglons finishing fourth.
Now, back at ASM, he could be lining up beside Falcao this season, but the player is keeping his options open. His intelligence and predatory movement would make him an excellent option for a lot of clubs.
Thomas Lemar: AS Monaco
Signed last summer from the same club that Leicester plucked Kanté from, Thomas Lemar leaving SM Caen for AS Monaco wasn’t met with much fanfare when the move happened, yet the teenager would bide his time and quickly show his quality.
In just six starts for SMC he had bagged himself four assists, for Monaco he would demonstrate the ability he has in his left-foot and as the Monegasque side struggled early in the season, Lemar was their stand out player.
Able to play anywhere on the left of the attack, only injury stopped him playing a bigger part in Leonardo Jardim’s side. Still only 20 years old, he has a huge future ahead of him.
Romain Thomas: SCO Angers
The newly promoted side surprised everyone with their water-tight defence and effective counter-attacks, with the 28-year-old at the base of their success.
When PSG visited the Stade Jean-Bouin last year, they were meet with stern resistance and Thomas was in fine form. SCO became the first team to stop the champions from finding the net in Ligue 1.
Ready-made for the Premier League, Thomas is over 6 foot 3 inches tall and has the positioning and strength to dominate in the air. With their skipper inspiring the rest of the team, Angers finished ninth, but with the fourth best defensive record in Ligue 1.
Benjamin Lecomte: FC Lorient
One of France’s most underrated goalkeepers. With the amount of talented shot-stoppers in Ligue 1, that is itself is a huge compliment. Using his superb reflexes and impressive athleticism, Lecomte has been excellent as Lorient’s last line of defence.
As FCL struggled to keep themselves out of the relegation zone, Lecomte still managed to record eight clean sheets and only Remy Vercoutre made more saves than the 25-year-old – and the veteran played one more game.
When Sylvain Ripoll’s side are struggling to hold on and the game looks against them, more often than not, Lecomte is the man between Les Merlus getting something from the game. He is now ready for a new challenge and England would be an ideal destination.
Vincent Koziello: OGC Nice
When talking about the success Nice enjoyed last term, you have to look at the midfield trio that allowed Ben Arfa and Germain to flourish in the final third. Leicester City have already snapped up Nampalys Mendy this summer and if Premier League clubs are paying attention, baby-faced Vincent Koziello should be next.
His effortless style of passing and moving, gliding about the pitch, with or without the ball, would suit a number of clubs in England. Despite his boyish looks, he loves a tackle and is no stranger to getting stuck in.
As Claude Puel begins his tenure at Southampton, don’t be surprised if the Frenchman makes a move for the 20-year-old that recorded three goals and six assists last season.