Numbers 26-30 of 50 players from Ligue 1 that Premier League teams should be targeting this summer.
Every season the Premier League plunders France for some of its most prominent talent. This year has been no different. Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Rivière have joined Newcastle United, Bafetimbi Gomis made the jump to Swansea and Ligue 1 graduate Mathieu Debuchy upgrade to a place in Arsenal’s starting lineup.
Premier Leagues always look across the channel, and usually they find some excellent value for money. For every £30 million spent on Luke Shaw, you will find £8 million to invest in a player like Serge Aurier.
Over the next five days we will bring you 50 Ligue 1 players that the Premier League should be targeting for the new season. In no particular order, here are numbers 1-5.
Mathieu Valbuena – Marseille
Position: Attacking-Midfield, Winger
Suggested Clubs: Liverpool, Southampton
It is very possible that Mathieu Valbuena is on the verge of moving to Russia next season, but until a deal is done, there is a chance a Premier League team can come in and save the little playmaker.
Le Petit Velo was one of France’s best players during the World Cup, and even though he is 29 years old, he is at the top of his game.
Valbuena can play anywhere along the attack and he will bring directness, creativity and non-stop problems for defenders.
Benjamin Stambouli – Montpellier HSC
Young Benjamin Stambouli broke into the Montpellier side when they won the 2011/12 Ligue 1 title, and over the last few seasons he has established himself as an integral part of La Paillade.
He is a tough tackler, not just tough, but superbly accurate and decisive. He can spray the ball 40 yards, or pick out the simple option. His all-round game is very impressive.
The epitome of a team player, he has played in central midfield, centre-back, right-back, left-back, just about anywhere that various Montpellier bosses have asked him too.
Pape Souare – Lille OSC
Suggested Clubs: Southampton, Crystal Palace, Hull City
After a loan spell at Stade de Reims, Pape Souare broke into the Lille defence last season, and once he won his place, he never let it go.
Playing at a very high pace, with endless energy levels, Souare was a huge part of Lille OSC’s 21 clean sheets last season.
Strong in the air with a great leap, but he could improve massively on his final ball. Quick and eager to burst down the flanks, he is a brilliant modern day full-back with lots of room for improvement.
Timothee Kolodziejczak – OGC Nice
Suggested Clubs: West Ham United, Southampton, West Brom
At only 22 years old, it is crazy to think that Timothee Kolodziejczak is already on his third Ligue 1 club. After coming through the academy at RC Lens, he joined Lyon and played more than a handful of games as a 19-year-old.
He is tall, has a rangy stride, is good in the air and an excellent defender against pacey wingers. He likes to get forward and has an excellent left-foot.
After playing over 70 games for Nice, it looks like the ever-impressive defender is ready to move on. Physically he is ready for a move to the Premier League and he could become an elite left-back given the right environment.
Abel Aguilar – Toulouse FC
Suggested Clubs: Everton, Swansea
29-year-old Colombian midfielder Abel Aguilar’s excellent season when mostly unnoticed last season. He only scored once and didn’t manage to contribute an assist, but no one in the Toulouse side saw more of the ball than Aguilar.
Everything Toulouse did well went through the Colombian and this translated to an excellent World Cup campaign in Brazil. Behind the class and skill of James Rodriguez was the industry, guile and intelligence of Aguilar.
In a league where there are more central midfielders than creative midfielders, Aguilar would be an excellent bridge between both styles.