Euro 2020 Special

The Rumours Persist Despite Lack of Ligue 1 Action

With a goal difference more than four times better than their nearest rivals and a lead of 12 points, there is little doubt that  should the season re-start, the Ligue 1 title will be going to the same destination for a third year in a row.

And so it should, for PSG have collectively spent more money in recent years than the remaining 19 French top-flight sides put together.

While the outcome of the title has been pretty predictable most years since the Qatari takeover of the Parisians nearly a decade ago, the race for the top four may largely be over too with Marseille safely in second position while Rennes and Lille are vying for third and fourth spot.

Yet there is plenty of interest elsewhere and plenty of news to keep football fans entertained during the break from action.

Indeed, it remains pretty tight with only 10 points separating the sides from seventh to 17th spot. The holder of that position, St Etienne, have only three points clear of the drop zone themselves.

The top priority is to finish the season when the COVID-19 pandemic is over – whenever that is.

But the longer this enforced break from football continues, there must be a huge question mark about that wish echoed by the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) president Nathalie Boy de la Tour becoming a reality.

More than most, runaway leaders PSG want the campaign to resume.

After all, they are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and have already shown their mettle, even on the rare occasion they have been without their star front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani.

The fact remains, however, that under their current owners, PSG are always likely to create the most Ligue 1 highlights.

And they will almost always be favourites with the SBOTOP Ligue 1 betting odds given their resources and untold wealth.

Much of the talking points about the division will centre on the players coming and going and there’s no shortage of speculation.

In the capital, Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic has been regularly linked with the French champions.

The 29 year-old has also been mooted with a move to Chelsea. And after four years and more than 150 appearances with the ‘old lady’ of Turin, could now be the time they agree to sell him?

Perhaps a factor could be the on-loan front man Mauro Icardi, who according to some reports, has started talks with Juventus over a possible transfer once he returns to his parent club Inter Milan.

It would appear the striker is not a part of the Ligue 1 champions’ plans for the future.

Interestingly, Inter are reportedly keeping an eye on Thomas Meunier who is currently available at the end of this term when his PSG contract runs out.

Then there’s another Italian link in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The Serbian international has been in fine form for Lazio once again this season, with his side currently trying to chase down Juve in the Scudetto race.

What of some of France’s other big clubs needing a pick-me-up?

Well for Lyon, as has traditionally been the case, their biggest struggle could be holding onto their best players.

They privately will be bracing themselves for numerous bids for Moussa Dembele with Man Utd and Chelsea reportedly leading the race for his signature.

Moussa Dembele is believed to soon part ways with Ligue 1 club Lyon
Moussa Dembele during a Ligue 1 match

The Frenchman, who is valued by Lyon at around £60-million, was supposedly the subject of a Chelsea bid in January.

Although if the figures suggested of £33-million was accurate, it’s clear to see why it was knocked back – especially given that Memphis Depay had been recently ruled out with a serious injury.

United, meanwhile, have held a longer interest in the player and continue to monitor his situation in France.

Reports also suggest that while they are believed to be prepared to sell Dembele providing their asking price is met, they are not willing to allow Liverpool and Man City target Houssem Aouar leave the club.

The Lyon-born talent has enjoyed the best campaign of his young career and has put in several impressive performances at the heart of Rudi Garcia’s midfield. He has registered nine goals and seven assists in 37 appearances this term on all fronts which highlight how influential he has been at the Groupama Stadium in this campaign.

As odd as it seems to be talking about transfers when there’s still so much of the 2019/20 campaign to be played, I leave you with the name of the highly promising Eduardo Camavinga.

He has been linked with a move to the Premier League but is also being urged to stay in France for at least one more season by Rennes coach Julien Stephan.

With just 32 Ligue 1 appearances under his belt, Camavinga’s manager at Rennes is understandably wary of a classic case of too much too soon.

He would surely do well to listen to his manager. This division has a reputation for developing but then sadly losing too many of its young talents.




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