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Rationality of PSG, shopaholicism of Marseille, nostalgia in Lyon: the coolest transfers of the French championship

Lionel Messi

“There was never and never will be someone like you.” Leo Messi’s transfer to PSG became the leitmotif of last year’s summer transfer window in the French championship. A historic event that has never been equaled in the history of French football, and, it seems, is not expected in the near future either.

However, this offseason is interesting, first of all, not with star offers. Coaches became the main newsmakers of League 1: three of the top five teams in the championship changed their head coaches in the summer. And so — they began to rebuild under new helmsmen.

Thus, the summer of 2022 may seem much more modest than in previous years. Even the most expensive transfer in the French championship is only 40 million, which PSG paid for the redemption of a player already involved in the team.

But interesting and high-quality transfers did not decrease. We emphasize: we deliberately added to the rating only those players who will play a serious role in their clubs. Therefore, such star footballers as, for example, Renata Sanchez, did not make it to the top, because, probably, they will strengthen the game from the bench.

In the rating, we do not take into account loan players.

12. Ismaili. Free agent in Lille


Lille is going to return to at least the top 5. For this ambitious goal, Paulo Fonseca was brought into the team and began to strengthen problematic positions. Over the summer, Lille signed as many as ten new players. Of which, yet another native of Shakhtar, Ismaili, looks the best.

Over the years of playing in Ukraine, the left defender managed to receive a lot of compliments for his strong game. However, it is one thing to be the first in the UPL, quite another to transfer the top indicators to a classier championship. So Ismaili’s strong performance from the first matches was surprising.

In 6 games, the Brazilian managed to score 2+1 points on the goal+pass system. Of course, this was helped by good relations and a long acquaintance with Fonseca. So it’s good for everyone: the coach, and the team, which got a strong main full-back, and Ismaili, who already after 30 received a call to the top championship.

11. Moussa Sissoko: from Watford to Nantes for two million euros

Moussa Sissoko

Last season was very successful for Nantes: the team won the National Cup and finished in the top half of the tournament table. Such unreal successes became possible thanks to a coincidence of circumstances: no important player of the team was seriously injured during the entire season, all the leaders kept good form.

The real task of Nantes for the new season is not to perform too badly. It’s not easy: European Cups are added to the already overloaded Qatar World Cup schedule. Moussa Sissoko, who returned to his native France for the first time in 10 years, was called to help modest Nantes.

In top condition, Moussa is a monster in the center of the field. In fact, he covers all the needs in the midfield – and creates chances, and passes well, and pulls the ball, and tackles, and scores. If, of course, there is enough physics for this, which over the years has begun to let the midfielder down somewhat.

10. Remy Cabella: free agent at Lille

Remy Cabella

Remy was once considered one of the most promising French midfielders. Quick, smart, with a super fine passing skill, Cabell at the peak of his career even had time to play in Newcastle, but managed to slip to the championship of Northern Mongolia.

Cabella returned to his native France as a mature and experienced football player. For the level of tasks in Lille, he fits perfectly: with Cabell at the base, the team has added significantly in the build-up, and Remy has covered the need for a quality performer of standards. It is obvious that Cabella is not very picky about the salary, so the transfer can be called a success.

9. Lois Openda: from Bruges to Lance for ten million

Lois Openda

Lens, after a more than good season, was forced to sell two leaders at once. Cheick Doukoure could not resist an offer from Crystal Palace, and Jonathan Clauss wanted Marseille too much.

Lens partially invested the considerable money earned in Lois Openda, a promising Belgian forward. He is only 22, during his career he managed to play in his native Belgium and in Vitesse. In the Netherlands, by the way, Openda scored almost 30 goals and naturally began to be considered a target for many teams.

For Lens, investing ten million is a solid and measured step. Frank Es played the forward from the first minutes, for which he already had time to thank: the Belgian scored the first goal in his new championship against Monaco in the third round, and the second against Rennes, to which Lorient and Reims were later added. The goals have started, we are waiting for more.

8. Kasper Schmeichel: from Leicester to Nice for one million euros

Kasper Schmeichel

Nice has already made a major personnel decision this summer. The team could not resist the desire to coach Christophe Galtier for PSG and let the coach go as best as possible for themselves. According to various estimates, Paris, in addition to full payment of the contract break, transferred up to 10 million euros to the Eagles’ account.

A painful, but profitable farewell to Galtier, allowed Nice not to sell any of the leaders to get money for reinforcements. The only unpleasant loss among the players is the departure of the main goalkeeper Walter Benitez. The Argentine simply decided to change the situation a little and moved to PSV.

Benitez was replaced in Nice by Leicester’s long-time number one and English champion Kasper Schmeichel. Kasper left England for the same reasons as Benitez: he also wanted new challenges in his career. Well, skidding at the start of Nice will not be a bad quest.

7. Arno Kalimuendo: from PSG to Rennes for 20 million euros

Arno Kalimuendo

Somehow imperceptibly, Rennes began to spend serious money on reinforcements every summer. Loik Beda joined the team last year for 20 million, this offseason there were as many as two such transfers. In the same twenties, Rennes took the talented Belgian defender Arthur Theate from Bologna. He gave the same amount for Arno Kalimuendo.

Although Arno is only 20, he has already managed to spend two good seasons in Ligue 1. Having gone on loan to Lance twice, the young forward exchanged the second dozen goals in the elite division. The boy himself repeatedly said that he wanted to get a chance in his native PSG, but the Parisians decided that Hugo Ekitike was more worthy and stronger.

The union between Rennes and Kalimuendo should bring profit to both: the club will get a player who can and likes to score a lot, while Arno will get a team where he will finally play in the long term.

6. Jonathan Clauss: from Lance to Marseille for 7.5 million euros

Jonathan Clauss

The story of Jonathan Clauss is a classic football tale. The Alsatian, who spent his entire life in the lower leagues, fell into the hands of Franck Es and blossomed into one of the best right-backs in the French tower. And together with Lens, he tore everyone up to the chance to try himself in the French national team.

A beautiful story about a phoenix team and a player who waited for his chance for a very long time and waited for it, crashed, hitting the business reality. Clauss had a year left on his contract, and Lance was unable to persuade the player to sign a new deal. So the leader and perhaps the best football player had to be sold.

Expressed desire to sign Clauss Marseille. For only seven and a half million, the club grabbed the top right winger, who is used to playing in a scheme with three defenders. Clauss has already shown that he is a successful investment: in the first eight matches, the defender has already managed to make two assists.

5. Nordi Mukiele: from Leipzig to PSG for 12 million euros

Nordi Mukiele

PSG is a team that has always been associated with mindlessly spending money. It seemed that the club, which paid 60 million for Mauro Icardi, simply could not manage the funds adequately. But that changed this summer.

A new sports director was found in Paris, who immediately began scrolling through profitable offers. Perhaps the most illustrative example is the signing of Nordi Mukiele. For just a ridiculous 12 million, the Parisians took an active national team player who has several years of experience at the highest European level.

Interestingly, with one transfer, the Parisians closed two positions at once. Mukiele can play as a right back or in one of the positions in the center of defense. An additional, but no less pleasant bonus is that Nordy was born in one of the suburbs of Paris.

4. Takumi Minamino — from Liverpool to Monaco for 15 million euros

In the summer, Monaco once again sold the young player profitably. Aurelien Tchouameni went to Real Madrid for almost 80 million, who became the most expensive sale of Monegasque players in history. After Kylian Mbappe, of course.

With the money earned, Monaco began to strengthen problematic positions. Perhaps the best “incoming” transfer for the club was Minamino, who was plucked from the Liverpool bench for little money.

For four years in the Merseyside team’s reserve, it was somehow forgotten that Takumi is a very versatile, technical, diligent and generally cool football player. In Austria, the Japanese scored in every fourth match and was considered the club’s best player for a reason. Yes, Minamino lacked class and zeal for Liverpool. But the samurai will definitely not get lost in France.

3. Luis Suarez: from Granada to Marseille for 10 million euros

Luis Suarez

Marseille broke through for this transfer campaign. The club, not counting lease buyouts, made 11 “inbound” transfers. Among the signed players are both past stars like Alexis Sanchez and young talents like Isaac Toure. But the signing of Luis Suarez seems really better from the point of view of invested funds.

The Colombian forward is only 24. He has already played for four Spanish clubs. In the last one – Granada – he was so effective that he was even awarded the title of player of the year. Fast, very persistent and sharp, he almost immediately attracted the interest of teams higher than Granada.

In his debut match, Luis scored a double. Yes, it seems that the forward will replace Alexis Sanchez this season. However, the Chilean is not getting younger every year, and Suarez will get a chance to prove his level in one of the best teams in France in the future.

2. Vitinha: from Porto to PSG for 40 million euros


This year’s Ligue 1 transfer records are all Portuguese. PSG paid 40 million kopecks for the purchase of the left defender from Sporting, Nunu Mendes. A few million less — for Porto midfielder Vitinha.

Christophe Galtier personally wanted to take Vitinho. In one of the interviews, he said that his team watched the midfielder even while working in Lille. However, at that time there was no money to sign the Portuguese.

But Paris happily spent 40 million on a young midfielder. Mobile, with excellent passing and dribbling skills, Vittigna has featured in every match of the new season from the opening minutes, perfectly complementing Marco Verratti. The problem is only one thing: the midfielder fouls a lot and already before the fourth round he earned a disqualification for picking up yellow cards.

  1. Alexandre Lacazette + Corentin Tolisso: to Lyon as free agents
Alexandre Lacazette

The sons of Lyon who returned home. Yes, having given the best football years to the European tops, having returned as already 30-year-old players, but the story does not become more beautiful, tender and heart-wrenching for the fans.

Lacazette was the first to start the “great comeback”. Arsenal, having chosen a new path, released the star forward without question, and he, having agreed to a salary reduction, returned to Lyon. Since his departure, only Antoni Lopes remained in the team, so for the company Lacazette arranged to escape to Lyon and his friend – Corentin Tolisso.

Lyon almost signed Samuel Umtiti for the kit. However, the defender lost both playing and physical form during several years of sitting on the Catalan bench. So, only much more modest and unpretentious Lecce agreed to take him.

Meanwhile, both Lacazette and Tolisso immediately became Lyon’s main players. Lacazette has already managed to renew the number of scored goals, and the team has had almost the best start in the championship in recent years.

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