Ligue 1 preview 17/18

Dear followers, 

here you'll be able to follow all the important news about the clubs in the French first league. Page will be updated daily, so till the start of the season it will become a whole preview of L1 - transfers, squads, probable lineups, probable formations, managers, etc.

* As I've mentioned during the last season, after whole year of delivering free analysis with great stats, there will be a subscription from next season on. For more informations, write me on Group of subscribers will be limited. 

All transfers 
and short personal opinion about some clubs (transfers from

All together: 102 million €

Without doubt it will be tough to find adequate replacement for Bernardo, Mbappe, Mendy or Bakayoko, but with high potential players as Keita Balde, Tielemans, Kongolo, Jovetić and still bunch of decent players in the squad (Lemar, Fabinho, Falcao, Sidibe, ... ) Leonardo Jardim will have a strong squad for this season as well and we can expect them in top positions. Before arrivals of Keita and Jovetić, Jardim played matches with Falcao and Diakhaby up front, but we'll probably see some changes now. As they "mastered" Jardim's 4-4-2, we can expect the same formation from now on as well. Their leaderboard made an excellent business with bringing two quality free agents Rachid Ghezzal and Jordy Gaspar from Lyon. The most expensive reinforcement was 22-years old Keita Balde who grew up in La Masia in Barcelona and played very well for Lazio in Serie A last season. Can he become a new Monaco superstar? Second most expensive player was so called "wonderkid" Tielemans who joined from Belgian Anderlecht. Undoubtedly Monaco will have bunch of young players to watch...

All together: 238 million €

What to say about PSG? They shocked the world with the 222M bid for Brazilian superstar Neymar, and as if it wasn't enough, they succeeded with bringing the hottest young player in the world now - Kylian Mbappe. On the paper, their team looks extremely strong. They have a great manager in Unai Emery, but leaderboard expects big things from him. They actually added "only" four players to last seasons squad, but as they kept all most important players, the depth of their squad is enormous. Their main problem stays in goal, where Areola and Trapp haven't showed what was expected from them, but as they failed to sign Jan Oblak from Atletico Madrid, Emery will need to find a solution between the posts. It will be very hard to steal points from this team and I think that Ligue 1 will be theirs this time.

All together: 24,3 million €

In my opinion one of most unluckiest teams last season. They were in amazing position, fighting with Monaco and PSG for the tittle, but in final quarter of season everything went wrong. Injuries of Ricardo Pereira, Belhanda, Plea, Cyprien, Eysseric and Baysse were simply too much and Favre even needed to add players from the reserve team! Luckily for them Seri stayed even though he was practically out twice. With Sneijder and Jallet they wanted to add some experiences in the team, while they added some hot prospects as winger Saint-Maximin, defender Marlon, midfielder Makengo and left full back Racine Coly too. Fans are happy to see 25-years old Nampalys Mendy back, who will strengthen the midfield and when Cyprien will recover after his injury, I think that we'll see a decent Nice again. Their problem remains in attack, where Favre can count only on Plea and Balotelli.

All together: 48,5 million €

Lyon lost several important players (Lacazette, Tolisso, Valbuena, Ghezzal, Gonalons, Mammana, Jallet, Darder, Rybus,... all of them played lots of matches last season and even if they earned a lot from transfers they didn't go crazily in transfers. Except experienced attacker Marcelo, they brought talents as winger Traore, midfielder Diop, attacking midfielder/attacker Diaz, one of the best left full backs last season in Ligue 1 - Marçal, promising left full back Ferland Mendy and "wonderkid" from Amiens - NDombele who started season very well. So far it looks that new players are already well integrated in the team and I wouldn't be surprised if we'll see Lyon in top 3 this season. Of course competition for this spot, which still brings qualifications for Champions league will be big, but I think that they have quality to reach it.

All together: 42 million €

Opposite as other big teams in France, Marseille decided to strengthen their squad with experienced players. Except 23-years old left full back Amavi, they bought all well known players - Gustavo, Mandanda, Mitroglou, Germain, Rami and Abdennour with who they filled spots where they needed players and it's true that if those players will assimilate to the team well, then they can seriously attack higher spots this season. It will be interesting to see how Mitroglou will adapt to this team, also if Garcia will decide to play with both Germain and Mitrouglou or only with one but anyway leaderboard is aiming high this season and with transfer window they showed that. Important is that best individual from last season - Thauvin stayed on Velodrome but we'll see this season if he will be able to lead this team to reach their goals.

All together: 24,6 million €

After catastrophic lost against Videoton in League Europe qualifications, Gourvennec have a reason to be happy as his best individual Malcom didn't leave. They finally signed previously loaned Jovanović and Sabaly and with added solid players like goalkeeper Costill, midfielders Cafu, Otavio, Pereira and Lerager and attackers De Preville and Mendy they extended depth of the squad and we can expect them in top half for sure. I wouldn't be surprised seeing them fighting for League Europe spots again.

All together: 11,3 million €

Sounds funny, but I am doubtful here. Is Ranieri the right man for the job? We've seen that this pretty young squad needed energetic coach with fresh ideas and with Conceiçao they found the way of football which suits them. They lost captain Gillet who went to Olympiacos, vice-captain Riou went to Alanyaspor and even if they bought/loaned solid players for those two positions (Tatarusanu, Krhin, Girotto) main question stays in attack. Who is capable of scoring 15+ goals in this team? I sincerely hope that things won't go back on focusing on defence, because they showed us last season what are they capable of. Winger El Ghanassy and striker Coulibaly were brought to strengthen offensive part of the team, but we need to admit that start of the season was far from expectations.

All together: 18,3 million €

As already mentioned the biggest difference in Sain-Etienne is on the bench. Relatively defensive minded Galtier has been changed by Spaniard Oscar Garcia, who will give them more freedom and make them more attacking orientated team. Their defence with great goalkeeper Ruffier and captain Perrin was already strong but as we've seen in first matches they are positioned higher on the pitch and they are way more creative in midfield. New players Diousse, Bamba, Diony and lately loaned Cabella will help him to impose new style of football to this city and we can be sure that Saint-Etienne will play better football than we were used to see.

All together: 35,9 million €

It has been an interesting transfer window for Rennes. They spent 35,9 million €, but they will get plenty of millions from Dembele's transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona. Sarr is new hot prospect, who might end in one big club for big transfer fee and Rennes bought him from Metz for 17 million euros. Lately they loaned attacking midfielder Khazri who already scored plenty goals in Ligue 1 (Bordeaux), but last season he played in Premier league for Sunderland. Koubek came to fill the gap on goalkeeper position as Costill left. With Khazri their creativity won't mainly depend on coaches son Yoann Gourcuff, which is good for Rennes as Yoann is missing plenty of matches due to injuries. Christian Gourcuff is putting big hopes on winger/attacker Mubele who already scored 3 goals and added one assist, even though start of Rennes with only 2 points after 4 rounds is very disappointing. 

All together: -

Coach Kombouare has an interesting squad once again. They were surprisingly sitting on high positions in start of last season and finished on 10th place, which wasn't bad for the small city with less than 8000 of population. They brought young French national player Marcus Thuram from Sochaux and add him to Blas and Coco (two other members of France U21). With mixture of young and experienced players Kombouare is looking forward to surprise giants again (last season they won against PSG). They brought few players on a free transfer but they will miss left full back Marçal who signed for Lyon.

All together: 58 million €

Team with highest number of changes, but even though they've spent more than 50 millions, except of big Brazilian talent Thiago Maia most of bought players are mostly unknown for laymen, but some paths of Bielsa's work are already noticeable. It's a big project and Argentinian tactical magician will need time, so I don't expect big things from them this season. But in 2 or 3 seasons if they will hold Bielsa on the bench, I expect Lille to become a strong contender in Ligue 1, aiming to top spots again.

All together: 11,1 million €

As a last transfer they brought Ivorian midfielder Toure from Bordeaux, while the biggest reinforcement for this team is young striker Crivelli, who played in Bastia last season as loaned player from Bordeaux. Other player joined from Bastia is midfielder Coulibaly. With Stéphane Moulin they showed last season that especially at home they will be a tough opponent for everyone. They had pretty big ups and downs last season, but luckily their positive record was long enough to collect enough points not to have problems with relegation battle. This season they will need to be more consistent, otherwise they can easily find themselves "down there".

All together: 3,5 million €

It needs to be said that leaderboard of Toulouse did well in this transfer window. They succeeded to hold young home grown stars goalkeeper Alban Lafont and defender Issa Diop, they got Sanogo and Fortes on a free transfer and payed 3,5M for attacker Jean. What impressed me is they managed to loan Gradel and Imbula, two quality players, who already proved themselves in Ligue 1. The only thing I don't understand is signing mister yellow card Cahuzac from Bastia, who already received two yellow cards in two matches. All in all, with Delort, Gradel, Durmaz, Jean and Imbula, this team looks much better than last season and we might see them higher then on 13th position.

All together: -

Nothing special happened in Metz and Hinschberger can be worried a bit. Team who was heavily laying on performances of Diabate (Osmanilspor) and Sarr (Rennes) stayed without them while reinforcements aren't something special. Roux had a pretty bad season in Saint-Etienne last season and cannot replace Diabate in my opinion, while lately signed Riviere from Newcastle played only 48 matches in last 3 seasons which he spent at Newcastle and at Osasuna on loan). For now, their key player remains 32-years old veteran Cohade and Hinschberger will need to find magic formula, if he wants to keep the team in Ligue 1. 

All together: 5,7 million €

Montpellier payed 3,2 millions to Rennes for attacker Sio and defender Mendes and 2,5 millions to Lorient for goalkeeper Lecomte. It's true that all three players are decent players, but problem of Montpellier is that they've lost their key player Boudebouz and target man Mounie. For now I am far from impressed with them and new coach Der Zakarian will have hands full of work.

All together: 3,5 million €

Dall'Oglio demanded one more defender till the end of the transfer window and he got Djilobodji on loan from Sunderland. Said, Sliti and Jeannot reinforced offensive part of the team, where it won't be easy to fill the gap of Diony who left to ASSE and Lees-Melou who joined Nice. For now Yambere who came from Bordeaux seems to be the best newbie in the team as he played pretty solid in first four matches, while other bought defender Lautoa is already injured.

All together: 5 million €

Caen played one-dimensional football last year, making several crosses on head of Santini and they were in pretty dangerous position at the end of the season. They survived, but they will need something more this season. With Ait Bennaser loaned from Monaco and young winger Jan Repas from Slovenia, they added so needed creative players but we'll see how will they integrate to the team.

All together: 3,7 millions €

1st league football is back in city of Strasbourg. They spent small amount of money, but they signed Corgnet from Saint-Etienne and Lala from Lens for free. Lala and Martin (who came from Betis) have already shown that they will be important members of the team as well as Corgnet, Terrier (loaned from Lille) and Saadi (who came from Cardiff) and already scored a first goal in Ligue 1. 

All together: 3,5 million €

First season in Ligue 1 for the team from Picardie region. They loaned several players but unfortunately lost promising NDombele. They are counting that Kakuta will prove his qualities (once he was among the biggest talents in France), while other well known loaned player is tall target man Lacina Traore. The only player on who they have spent money is Moussa Konate who came from Sion. They lost their first three matches even though they didn't play bad, especially against Angers at home. In fourth match they shocked everyone with 3-0 win over Nice and I believe that Pelissier's team will breathe easier now and play with less pressure. 

All together: -

Troyes is a team coming and leaving Ligue 1 frequently. They brought some players on a free transfer but even if they played acceptable first four matches, I think that they don't have a depth. Their number 10 is 40-years old Nivet and he is still one of most important players in the team. With Niane and Grandsir they look solid in attack, but as I said, I think that they won't hold. Bought players aren't something special and I think that we'll see them in relegation battle this season.

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