Potential French Ligue 1 Villa Transfer Targets
Greetings once again from the chasms of the MOMS scouting department. This time of year, attracts all manner of blaggards, scoundrels and transfer rascals who come forth from the darkness of the Villa ranks claiming to be Ligue 1 prophets and authority figures.
Well, I’m another, ‘sacré bleu’, I hear you cry!!! But for my sins, I get up at ungodly hours to feast on the shinning-lights of Ligue 1 every week from my Australian hideaway and I even guest appear on a Ligue 1 podcast Breaking the Lines from time to time, oh là là….
So, sit back relax and get ready to search Youtube for some juicy ‘Skillz and Goal’ vids of some players making an impression on French shores that could be suitable recruits for the Gerrard révolution.
In short, I know my Tchouaméni’s from my Frédéric Guilbert’s.
The mightily impressive recent signing of Boubacar Kamara, who is one of the most promising midfielders in European football and is held in the highest regard in France, has dramatically raised Villa’s profile in the home of Les Bleus. He is viewed as quite the coup for little old Villa by Ligue 1 Connoisseurs, some even still don’t believe it.
Despite recent reservations of recent French league imports from some Villa supporters, the time is potentially ripe to pounce on a new vintage of Ligue 1 talent.
Could these players be a good fit for the Villa?
Saint-Etienne – Aptly Named English Goalkeeper
This 21-year-old English goalkeeper is fast making a name for himself in Ligue 1 and, speaking of names, he is literally named after the team he plays for and the colour his team adorns.
Green’s employers are the epitome of a struggling-footballing-sleeping-giant. Les Verts have been gravitating towards the plughole of Ligue 2 for the duration of the season, and even French-relegation-escape-artist, Pascal Dupraz, couldn’t prevent the ten-time French champions from losing their relegation play-off against AJ Auxerre on penalties.
Not so long ago Green was a third-choice keeper, but fast forward a few months, and the starlet made his fellow goalkeeping rivals green with envy for a spell, when he was the number one thanks to a number of injuries.
During his fledgling career to date, he has displayed skills well-beyond his tender years. After being subjected to a tug-of-war between England and France for his international allegiance, the Three Lions may well be thankful they came out on top sooner rather than later.
The upstart is now a regular fixture with the England Under-21 set-up, last year he announced his intention to pledge his fealty to England via his Instagram.
“After the European Championships, the English Federation asked about my possible interest [in playing for England]. I was born in England but have lived in Saint-Étienne since the age of four. My mother is French, and my father is English. It’s like asking someone to choose between their parents. After letting some time pass, I finally made the decision to put myself at the disposal of the English Federation. It’s not a rational or opportunistic choice, [they’re] two great countries, two great teams, that have always made me dream… It’s a choice of one country against another… if the FA formalises their interest and calls me up, I will go with pride and 200% commitment.”
“This of course does not change my deep ties, my attachment and my commitment to Saint-Étienne!”
Verdict: A Eurostar that is bound to become an English star someday soon. Villa knows all too well how hard goalkeeping talent is to come by. Martinez is safe hands for the here and now, but Green is one with an eye for the future.
Downsides, he hasn’t played much since the turn of the year, when he was replaced between the sticks for the more experienced Paul Bernardoni and he has an affinity for another side cladded in Claret & Bleu…West Ham.
RC Lens – Late Bloomer Attacking Polish Wing Back
Remember that schoolmate who got picked last in PE but when they hit puberty mutated into a sporting-gladiator? Well this enterprising attacking full-back in his mid-20s is on a similar trajectory of hitting a profound-footballing-adolescence.
Frankowski is a Polish-attacking-full-back who joined the ranks of Ligue 1 just last summer from the shroud of the MLS. This season he became a vital component of an overachieving-side who punched well above their weight.
RC Lens battled at the summit of the higher echelons of Ligue 1 for most of the season, only narrowly missing out on a European place in the closing stages of the season, when they finished in 7th place.
He can play either side of a defensive trio, but it is in the attacking-third where he comes alive. Assists and goals come in a flurry once this wing-merchant weaves his magic.
Frankowski at the right-prime-age of 26, conjured goals and assists aplenty when operating in the MLS with Chicago Fire and his performances did enough to somehow attract the admiring glances of Ligue 1 and the recruitment team of Les sang et or.
Prior to life in America, he spent his entire career in Poland, first with Lechia Gdansk and then Jagiellonia. The wide player who can play as a winger or wingback on either flank, has caught the eye in Lens merciless run of good form where they lay waste to many opposition clubs endowed with far-greater-resources.
The fact he was secured for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of a mere $3 million US Dollars is a classic example of exemplar modern-day-scouting that Lange & Co can learn from. The Pole has repaid the faith by returning six goals and producing five assists in his debut Ligue 1 season.
The ferocious wingback who is a teammate of Villa’s Matty Cash with Poland, would provide excellent competition and cover for both wings & wing-back positions.
Verdict: The Pole would offer Villa an exciting prospect in a 3-5-2 formation and/or competition for both full-back positions. Villa’s bench has looked ragtag at times this season and with the Premier League moving goalposts to suit the Super League traitors with more subs being introduced, the squad needs to be upgraded.
Top Goal Scorers & Assists For RC Lens In Ligue 1 21/22
RC Lens – An Exciting Youthful Centre Forward
Whilst our Claret & Blue binoculars were surveying Ligue 1 and Lens in particular, another player of note caught the eye, Arnaud Kalimuendo. A fine young French striker who could be the collateral damage of Kylian Mbappé’s decision to shun the allure of Madrid for the warm embrace of PSG.
At just 20, Kalimuendo is looking more and more an accomplished finisher, endowed with the pace to get in behind defences, similar in mould to a young Anelka. He has represented Les Bleus underage sides from the Under-16’s to Under-21’s.
This season, whilst also on loan at Lens (yet again), Kalimuendo has blasted an impressive tally of 12 Ligue 1 goals, despite often being in and out of Franck Haise’s starting XI, across the campaign.
The French-sensation was rumoured to be the focus of many suitors from both Ligue 1 and Serie A last summer, but he wisely elected to re-join Lens as his pathway to the PSG first-team which was laden with expensive rivals.
This hotshot is now on international duties with the French Under-21’s regularly now, and it is only a matter of time before the 20-year-old net buster gains more notoriety with the elite of European Football.
Verdict: Villa and many others could do worse than plundering a prospect who has the potential to replace Mbappe someday, whether he or PSG realise it, is another matter.
Top Goal Scorers In Ligue 1 21/22
Olympique Lyonnais – A Striker Reborn
Olympique Lyonnais akin to Villa, have had a season largely to forget after they embarked on a path of ponderous regression. They have the capacity to infuriate even the most tolerant of football watcher, mainly due to their capability for inconsistency.
Lyon can rock up to Marseille’s Vélodrome with its infamous raucous unrivalled atmosphere and conquer the great fortress but then relapse days later with a defeat to the lowly Metz.
The seeds for their mid-table finish were a culmination of short-termism and indecision, which plunged them from one crisis to the next, their club legend Juninho Pernambucano even departed citing mental fatigue.
One the few shinning lights for the club, was a hotshot who has not accomplished much noteworthiness since his days north of the border in the SPL. The former darling of Celtic, Mr. Moussa Dembélé, finally produced some graft that justifies his billing.
He plundered 21 goals in Ligue 1 this year, averaging 0.81 goals a game and reminding the football world that he once banged 51 goals in 94 games for Celtic, when he was the toast of the town.
A club in chaos staring down the barrel of a rebuild, could be prime victims for Villa’s opportunistic transfer movements. The striker has previous experience in England with Fulham and would take little time to acclimatise to the warm surrounds of B6.
Verdict: Watkins and Ings have not exactly set the world alight of late, if Archer is not deemed to be ready, another striking option is urgently needed. This guy is a readymade, off the shelf option and was the only reason to smile in a torturous season for Lyon.
Top Goal Scorers In Ligue 1 21/22
Four more Ligue 1 prospects in Part Two