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FEATURE | 5 Ligue 1 Players Not Ready for a Move

With the summer transfer window upon us, we take a look at five players that are simply not ready to move on, despite them being rumoured with departures.

1 | Allan Saint-Maximin (OGC Nice – 22 | winger)

The enigmatic dribbler is certainly an eye-catcher in any game he plays in. Be it for his vivacious and often devastating running style, his well-publicised Gucci headband or his incredibly frustrating inability to make smart on-pitch decisions about when to release the ball from a dribble to a team-mate. The latter trait has been especially reductive in his development, matched by a desire to blame team-mates around him for his own misgivings or the breaking down of an attacking move.

OGC Nice President Gauthier Ganaye claimed in an interview with Nice-Matin recently that he felt that he would be able to “sell Saint-Maximin well,” this summer, with a host of Premier League clubs interested including Everton and Newcastle United. His lack of precision and inability to put the team above his own interests, in an admittedly thread-bare squad under Patrick Vieira, has led to a breakdown in relationship with his manager. ASM must learn to match his raw talent with more impressive teamwork for a transfer this summer to be effective.

2 | Marcus Thuram (EA Guingamp – 21 | attacker)

Son of Lilian, the habitual left-winger has had a difficult campaign as EAG were relegated from the French top flight. The wider European football community has begun to hype about his xG productivity and on paper the nine goals scored dictates that he has had an impressive season. However, with four penalties amongst this tally, paired by a crippling inconsistency and a touch that regularly lets him down, Thuram is by no means the finished product. Add to this a lack of nailed down position, and Thuram needs to spend more time honing his craft in Ligue 1, or even in a Ligue 2 title challenge.

3 | Remi Oudin (Stade de Reims – 22 | winger)

This young and understated Frenchman burst onto the Ligue 1 season this campaign as a key cog in the unexpected rise of the Champagne side. Not so much a playmaker or a dribbler, the Frenchman serves sometimes as a wide pivot, either on goal kicks or in play, so his teammates can transition forwards. His one-footedness means he is not a proficient crosser on the right flank, but he prefers to cut inside on his much stronger left foot. Whilst there are foibles in his game, he has an incredibly promising palette, but must follow it up with a more consistent second campaign in the French top flight.

4 | Jules Koundé (Girondins de Bordeaux – 20 | central defender)

Emerging from Les Girondins’ reserve set-up Koundé is ice-cool with an intelligent and assured style of defending. However, there has been too much change at Bordeaux, manager after manager, four bosses in one season: Ricardo, Éric Badouet, Gustavo Poyet and Paulo Sousa, and this has affected his performances. The true measure of a generational talent at centre back, which Koundé genuinely could become, is whether you can ride those waves of change at a club and remain imperious. The jury is still out: only by remaining with FCGB for another season can Koundé prove his worth this extent.

5 | Jonathan Ikoné (Lille – 20 | winger)

Marginalised as a PSG youth product, as is the norm, and unable to find form on loan with a defensive minded Montpellier team, forward Ikoné has finally found a home under Christophe Galtier at Lille. Coalescing nicely with Nicolas Pépé and Jonathan Bamba, his pace and direct style have been counterbalanced by a newfound elusiveness, an ability to drop off and find space playing behind a central striker. At just 20, he remains an intriguing prospect but requires stability to definitively push on, three years Pépé’s junior, Ikoné has plenty of time.


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