Ligue 1 out-of-contract XI 2023

There are only eight gameweeks remaining in the current Ligue 1 season, and there are plenty of high-profile players within France’s top-flight that are yet to see their current contracts renewed. Get French Football News picks the strongest XI of the division’s soon-to-be free agents. 

Formation: 4-2-3-1
Goalkeeper: Maxime Dupé 

The former France youth international, now 30 years old is yet to see his Toulouse contract renewed. He has played in every one of the club’s 30 Ligue 1 matches in what has been a successful return to Ligue 1. This season, the Frenchman has saved half of the penalties that he has faced. A free spot-kick specialist is an attractive prospect. 

Left-back: Sead Kolašinac

The former Arsenal defender has enjoyed a promising campaign for Les Phocéens. Whilst that miss in the Champions League against former rivals Tottenham Hotspur may haunt him, he has scored on four occasions this season and registered an assist. In Igor Tudor’s system, the Bosnian international has been equally as capable at the left of a back three or at left-wing-back. Kolašinac has an experience and a versatility that could be a useful asset for many clubs. 

Centre-back: Alexander Djiku

Djiku is a veteran of French football. Having come through at Bastia, he has gone on to represent SM Caen before joining Strasbourg in the summer of 2019. The Ghanaian international has been solid for Les Alsaciens through the years, despite the club’s difficulties this year. Djiku has played 216 games in Ligue 1, and at 28, his best years are not behind him. 

Centre-back: Sergio Ramos 

The former Real Madrid defender has not always impressed since joining PSG, but he is still competing at the very highest level and remains a menace in both boxes. Whilst at 37 he can’t be expected to feature every week, Ramos has nonetheless played 37 games in all competitions this season and clearly has something to offer. 

Right-back: Hamari Traoré

Malian international and Rennes captain Traoré has been at the Breton club since 2017, but this season looks to be his last. Despite reportedly attracting interest from Barcelona in the summer, Traoré stayed and has featured 28 times. He is a capable and experienced right-back, who also has leadership qualities that can be an asset to any dressing room. 

Central midfielder: Branco van den Boomen

The Toulouse midfielder will be much sought after this summer. According to Fabrizio Romanothe Dutchman is attracting plenty of interest across Europe, and it’s easy to see why. After lighting up Ligue 2 last season, he has taken to France’s top flight like a duck to water, scoring six goals and registering 12 assists in 33 games this season. At 27, van den Boomen is very much at the peak of his powers. 

Central midfielder: Stijn Spierings

Spierings has perhaps been overshadowed by his midfield partner at Toulouse, but his form has been impressive nonetheless. He has been a crucial metronomic force in Toulouse’s midfield and is a huge part of the club’s success, featuring in every one of their games in all competitions this season. Also at 27, he could be an interesting profile for some clubs looking to add depth to their current options. 

Left wing: Houssem Aouar

Aouar is another victim of Lyon’s inability to convert raw talent into good players in recent years. Les Gones were once masters of managing the post-formation years, but no longer. Like Nabil Fekir before him, Aouar’s time at Lyon has petered out, and this season he has played a peripheral role. But at 24 years old, there is still time to mould a great player. He will just need the right environment. 

Centre attacking midfielder: Alexis Sánchez

Sánchez has hit the ground running in Ligue 1, scoring 16 goals in a high-flying Marseille side. Expectations weren’t necessarily high for the Chilean international, but he has shown himself still capable of turning in good performances at a high level. It remains to be seen whether he will be renewed at Les Phocéens at the end of the season. 

Right wing: Lionel Messi 

The Argentinian international is the most high-profile of Ligue 1’s potential free agents. The World Champion’s future remains up in the air, and a move back to Barcelona remains a possibility. As does staying in Paris for a further season. After a mixed first season at the Parc des Princes, Messi has flourished this season, even if his post-World Cup form has been patchy. Few clubs have the means to pull off a deal to sign Messi, even if he would arrive for “free.” 

Striker: Moussa Dembélé

This hasn’t been Dembélé’s most prolific season at the Groupama Stadium, but with the return of Alexandre Lacazette, he was always going to find gametime more limited. However, the Frenchman remains a prolific goalscorer. He has scored 70 goals in 171 games for Lyon, and at the age of 26, he would represent good value for many Premier League clubs in the market for a striker. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle


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