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SUNDAY SPECIAL: How did Ligue 1 clubs fare in the summer transfer window? The Grades

Get French Football News grades the transfer window’s of each of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs. Who did the best and the worst business? Read on…

SC Bastia – B+

Bastia have certainly strengthened over the summer, adding some good players on a permanent basis with the likes of Christopher Maboulou, who has impressed early on, and Reims’ winger Floyd Ayite. The club’s new boss Claude Makelele has also used his links with former club PSG to bring in Alphonse Areola and Hervin Ongenda on-loan and whilst the club lost the services of Wahbi Khazri, the squad as a whole has been improved by the former French international.  

Girondins de Bordeaux – A

You have to be delighted with your summer if you’re a Bordeaux fan, they’ve got rid of some dead wood, kept anything of value and added some extra quality to the team. Signing Wahbi Khazri was a good move by Willy Sagnol, dealing with Liverpool to get Tiago Illori on-loan was shrewd should the centre-back show the form he did in Portugal, but using his Bayern Munich links to bring in Diego Contento could top them all at the end of the season.

SM Caen – B+

For a team many predicted to struggle, Caen have done some nice little pieces of business this summer that could give them a real shot at survival. Bringing in Ligue 1 experience in the likes of Remy Vercoutre and Julian Feret will help, whilst Florian Raspentino and Sloan Privat could be great additions should they hit form. They’ve kept most of their squad from last season and even low key signings like Damien Da Silva have shown promise early on, it’s already looking like a good transfer window for Patrice Garande’s men.

Evian TG FC – B-

The summer transfer window for Evian was surprising for one reason; somehow, someway, they have managed to keep hold of Daniel Wass. The Danish international was superb last season, especially in the latter half of the campaign and many expected him to move on but keeping him on their books might be the best single transfer window manoeuvre that they have done. Adding Yeltsin Tejeda and Gianni Bruno should help but losing top scorer Kevin Berigaud is a blow that they might not be able to recover from as they struggled to score last season.

EA Guingamp – D

Losing Mustapha Yatabaré so late in the window was a huge blow for a Guingamp side already struggling to find goals. They’ve brought in Sylvain Marveaux on loan and Lars Jacobsen, who could contribute should they find their old form but that’s a risk and not bringing in a goalscorer could be fatal to this team. Without much guaranteed Ligue 1 quality coming into the club, you have to say it’s been a below par summer for the reigning Coupe de France champions.

RC Lens – F

This grade might be a little unfair since the club had to fight to even be allowed into Ligue 1 this season but the facts are there for everyone to see, no signings will always spell trouble. It’s a shame they never really had a chance after a transfer embargo was placed on the club even after being accepted into the league but without the return of some of their talented loan signings like Alphonse Areola, they are going to struggle and that’s simply because they couldn’t do anything during the window.

LOSC Lille – C

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for Lille, they haven’t really improved but at the same time they have only really lost Salomon Kalou to Hertha Berlin. Whilst his 16 goals will leave a temporary void, fans will be glad that both his frustrating style and his wages will be away from the Stade Pierre-Mauroy this season. They sold Divock Origi to Liverpool but he’s back on loan, a great addition should he perform like he did for Belgium in the World Cup, and the club will be delighted to finally have Sebastien Corchia in their ranks. Manchester City loanee Marcos Lopes has show glimpses of real quality but the club might regret not bringing in another proven striker to bolster their misfiring attack.

FC Lorient – C-

Despite the signing of Jordan Ayew from Marseille looking like a fantastic piece of business, Lorient took two body blows late in the window losing both top scorer Vincent Aboubakar and defensive stalwart Bruno Ecuele Manga. They lost some good contributors too, with Jermaine Aliadiere going to Qatar and Kevin Monnet-Paquet joining Saint-Etienne, which could really effect the team later on in the season. They’ll have to rely on a combination of youth and some signings from Ligue 2 to fill the gaps, which they have done time and time again, but expect this season to be a bumpy ride.

Olympique Lyonnais – C-

Lyon did a few nice pieces of business this summer, by bringing in the experience of Christophe Jallet which will help the young side and the capture of Lindsay Rose could develop into a very good centre-back, but they haven’t added enough to improve significantly. They’ve lost Bafetimbi Gomis and Jimmy Briand who despite both being very vocal about their desire to leave, they still contributed to the team last season and in reality, they haven’t been replaced. A lot of their young players will have to fill big shoes quickly or this team could sink but bringing in new manager Hubert Fournier could be excellent business.

Olympique Marseille – C

On paper, it looks like a really odd summer for Marseille. Romain Alessandrini impressed in his two years at Rennes and Michy Batshuayi shows a lot of promise but they both play in positions where the team already had quality. They’ve lost Mathieu Valbuena cheaply, despite his desire to leave and his dip in form last season they practically gave him to Dynamo Moscow and his quality will be missed despite the replacements brought in. They only brought in a defender on deadline day and whilst Doria could be a great addition, they needed more reinforcements at the back rather than more attacking options for Marcelo Bielsa to play with.

FC Metz – C

It’s difficult to judge just how Metz will do this season and that task only becomes more difficult when you look at the business they did in the transfer window. They lost top scorer Diafra Sakho to West Ham but brought in Modibo Maiga on loan, who was poor in England but has a track record of scoring goals in French football. N’Daw could be a good signing, but players like Sergey Krivets from BATE Borisov and the two players brought from Argentina are unknown quantities that could go either way so that’s why they get the middle-of-the-line grade.

AS Monaco – D-

The project grinded to a halt this summer as Monaco lost their best two players and failed to bring in any big names to replace them. James Rodriguez has gone to Real Madrid, Radamel Falcao is off on loan to Manchester United and the team’s world class quality in the final third has simply vanished in one window. The experience of Eric Abidal has gone too, new signing Aymen Abdennour was atrocious in the first few games and the defence still looks as leaky as it had been at the back-end of last season. Tiemoue Bakayoko might turn out to be a terrific signing and getting Fabinho back on loan was a positive, but there is no denying the team have taken a big step backwards this summer.

Montpellier Herault SC – C-

MHSC knew they would be losing their favourite son in Remy Cabella but expectedly losing Benjamin Stambouli so late in the window dealt the team with a blow they might not recover from. Kevin Berigaud should bring them more goals coming from Evian and if he can’t, then they have Lucas Barrios who could be a very good signing should be find the form he had back at Borussia Dortmund, but he remains a high-risk pick. They should have added an extra midfielder to take the weight off Morgan Sanson’s shoulders but at least they have actually tried to replace players unlike some other teams in Ligue 1.

FC Nantes – E

A transfer embargo continues to block Nantes from signing players. They desperately needed to find a replacement for Filip Djordjevic who joined Lazio on a free, so someone made the decision to sign Itay Shechter on a permanent deal after the Israeli international failed to score in a loan spell last season. Johan Audel has never been prolific and despite signing some key players to new contracts, this team will have a real fight on their hands to stay up this year.  

OGN Nice – D

Claude Puel’s men were dreadful towards the end of last season, finishing just above the drop zone and this summer won’t have filled their fans with optimism that they won’t struggle again. They’ve lost a lot of talent, with David Ospina, Timothée Kolodziejczak, Nemanja Pejcinovic and Cristian Bruls all off their books they needed replacing and the club have failed to do so. Souleymane Diawara will add some experience to the defence but he’s past his best, Nice will have to lean on their youngsters if they are to avoid the drop this season rather than the players brought during the transfer window.

Paris Saint-Germain – B

It’s the same old story in Paris, move on a few older names and bring in a few fresh faces that will add to any hopes of challenging for the Champions League. Alex, Jeremy Menez and Christophe Jallet have all gone and in comes David Luiz, who should be a good signing bar a few likely hairy moments. Serge Aurier was another excellent addition who will add to the squad but the team will be disappointed to have lost the promising Kingsley Coman on a free to Juventus.

Stade de Reims – C-

Reims lost a few key pieces this summer, one being their manager Hubert Fournier to Lyon and the other being midfield general Grzegorz Krychowiak to Europa League champions Sevilla, but they aren’t out for the count yet. They’ve brought in two ex-Liverpool players in David N’Gog and Chris Mavinga on loan with both looking like good moves, especially if the former finds his shooting boots. Capturing Benjamin Moukandjo on a free looks like a good move too but in hindsight, not finding a ready-made replacement for their Polish midfielder could prove to be a big mistake.

Stade Rennais FC – C

Philippe Montanier’s side have brought in more players than any other team in Ligue 1 which could be a risk but then again, if you throw enough darts you’re bound to hit something. There has been a few clever buys, Christian Brüls was great for Nice last season and Sanjin Prcic has shown a lot of promise in the past, alongside a few like Gelson Fernandes and Habib Habibou that could go either way. Mexer looks like a contender for bargain of the summer should he continue his early season form but the team has lost some real quality in Alessandrini, Bakayoko and French U21 right-back Dimitri Foulquier and that arguably undermines the positive moves they made.

AS Saint-Etienne – C+

Les Verts can be content with their summer business, bringing in some extra quality whilst only letting go of players they knew were heading out of the door. Prized asset Kurt Zouma has returned to new club Chelsea, Brandao has gone but other than a few other loan signigns leaving, the squad as a whole hasn’t been weakened. Kevin Monnet-Paquet will add something to the team out wide, Kevin Theophile-Catherine is an excellent loan signing from Cardiff and should Ricky van Wolfswinkel regain form, he could create a dangerous partnership with Mevlut Erding that could terrorise Ligue 1 defences.

Toulouse FC – D

The club knew they were going to lose two big players this summer, Abdennour headed to Monaco and Aurier left for PSG, but they haven’t brought in enough to restore some hope to the Toulouse faithful. Dragos Grigore and Marcel Tisserand were brought into to fill the void but will need time to settle and should Tongo Doumbia revert back to the version we saw at Rennes he could be a big contributor. Their best piece of business was probably holding onto Wissam Ben Yedder but without too much guaranteed improvement, he might be on his way come January.


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