Ligue 1 lives up to its billing as League of Talents

In the past year, Ligue 1 has been living up to its billing as the ‘League of Talents’ with players under the age of 21 finding frequent minutes in first teams across the division. 

According to data provided by CIES, France dominates the top five European leagues when it comes to providing their under-21s with first-team football. Of the ten teams which offer the most amount of minutes for their under-21s, half of them are French. 

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The new wave and the old guard in Ligue 1

It’s hardly a surprise when the league has naturally skewed younger in recent years with the financial discrepancy between it and the other top European divisions meaning that French talent is often the perfect blend of affordable and highly sought after. 

This is a point that has only been emphasised further with multiple teams within Ligue 1 beginning recent projects to put youth at the front and centre of their club operations, such as with RC Strasbourg, Toulouse FC, and even Paris Saint-Germain. 

The new guards are well represented on this list with Strasbourg’s summer investment helping them to be the club that provides the most amount of minutes to under-21s across the top five leagues, while Toulouse clocks in at a respectable eighth. 

Teams like Olympique Lyonnais and Stade Rennais have a long history of talent development and have often succeeded based on the products of their academy. Their historic approach lands both clubs high on the list, with Lyon beaten to the top spot, while Rennes sit just outside the top ten coming in at 13th. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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