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Talent League: Top 10 young players to watch in the French championship (part 1)

“The League of Talent.” This was the official slogan chosen for the French championship three seasons ago. This year, reality has changed: one of the best footballers of our time has landed in Paris, and now Ligue 1 can be rightly renamed “Ligue Messi. Because he is the main star, the value and the reason to include the French championship on television screens.

But Leo’s move has not changed the conditions in Ligue 1 for most teams. If you’re not PSG, you have to earn your own money, save money and focus on long-term low-budget projects. And the main income in this paradigm is nurturing young players and selling them to stronger and richer teams. That’s why Ligue 1 has so much confidence in young players.

This article will talk about the best of those who must be watched this season before they go anywhere. It should be noted that we deliberately do not include Kylian Mbappe, Ashraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Houssem Aouar as the top young stars in Ligue 1, as they have long since become stars of world soccer.

10. Romain Faivre (23 years old, Brest, transfer value – 13 million)

Romain Faivre

Following Brest is hard for the average fan. A small team that plays on the coast of the ocean. The main achievement in the history is winning the Ligue 2, and the coach – the French Armenian Michel Der Zakarian, would rather finish with soccer altogether, than start building bright and attacking teams.

But in this prism of dullness and monotony, Romain Faivre shines. He moved to Brest with Monaco a year ago (at first on loan) and immediately convinced the head coach: around him the team should be built. The first six months of last season Romain was in the top of the French championship in terms of created moments and assists. During the season the Frenchman scored 13 points in goal+passing system. He is by far the best in his club.

Milan were gunning for Romain in the summer. They wanted Brest’s best player for 20 million. But, according to rumors, Faivre decided to spend one more season in the French championship and confirm his level under the new coach and the new system.

9. Lucas Gourna-Douath (18 years old, Saint-Etienne, 12 million)

Lucas Gourna-Douath

It used to be that Saint-Etienne was a serious force in the French championship. Now on the banks of the main French river they are content with getting into the Europa League and have not claimed the championship laurels for a long time. A scary thing happened the year before last: PSG caught up with Saint-Etienne in the number of league titles.

The team is feverish, the middle of the table has become a habitual habitat for Saint-Etienne. Only promising young people dilute the green boredom. The brightest of them is Lucas Gourna-Douath.

He’s only 18 years old, but he’s already an iron-clad mainstay at Saint-Etienne. Last season Lucas played more than 30 games, burned the center of the field and stopped the opponent’s attacks brilliantly. So far, the main disadvantage of the young holding midfielder is intemperance. Last season Lucas earned 9 yellow cards. But this weakness of the game does not prevent European top clubs dream to buy the defender for 20 + million euros.

8. Sofiane Diop (21 years old, Monaco, 18 million)

Sofiane Diop

Yes, this is the guy who could send Shakhtar to the Europa League. It’s just like in the best soccer action movies: 10 minutes to go, the score is 2-1 and Diop snatches a place in the Champions League for his home club with a spectacular long-range strike. But Andrei Pyatov had his own script.

You can compare Sofiane Diop’s last season with a film of a different genre. He, as in American success stories, worked hard and achieved fame and recognition. First he went through all the youth of Monaco, then he left to find himself in Sochaux and came back to the Côte d’Azur stronger and stronger.

Last season Sofian scored 7 goals and became the third scorer of Monaco. The young Frenchman surprised Kovacs with his excellent technique and the ability to hit accurately, strongly and with both feet. Diop is consistently among the best dribblers in Ligue 1 and is rumored to be preparing to leave for the English league next season.

7. Sven Botman (21 years old, Lille, 28 million)

Sven Botman

Christophe Galtier last season built a unique team. Champion Lille was the best in Europe in the defense category. Lille’s defense allowed the opponent to score only 23 times during the season. A unique figure, which has no analogues.

Lille’s result looks even more astonishing when you remember that Europe’s most reliable defense is 37-year-old Jose Fonte and 21-year-old Sven Botman. How the two of them managed to play like that is a big mystery. Lille has already conceded eight this season, a third of last year’s total. But Sven Botman remains one of the continent’s top young defenders.

At Lille, Sven is playing his second season. In the championship campaign, the young Dutchman surprised beyond his years with his confident play, his classy one-on-one tackling and his complete lack of mistakes. In the winter, Botman already wanted to take Liverpool, but Sven chose the championship in France. And already this season he will prove his level under the new coach.

6. Ryan Sherkey (18 years old, Lyon, 27 million)

Ryan Sherkey

The case when a young player is so promising that they are willing to pay many tens of millions of euros in advance for him. Ryan – only 18, at the adult level he spent one season and scored only one goal. But that does not stop Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern and Arsenal from wanting to buy him for any money.

Ryan is fast and technical. He sees the field perfectly, can play almost every position in the attack. His dribbling is a ready-made snapshot for the soccer Instagram. For Lyon he has already become a major asset and the main young hope. It’s him, in the case of the departure of Houssem Aouar, will be the most indispensable player in the attack.

Read the second part of the article here – Talent League: Top 10 young players to watch in the French championship (part 2)

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