It’s not for nothing that Ligue 1 likes to brand itself as “The League of Talents,” with some of the game’s greatest ever players having started out in the French top flight.
Mbappe might be the most recent to fit that bill, and it is almost an open secret that he will join Madrid on conclusion of his Paris contract next summer, but that won’t stop other clubs from trying to tempt him beforehand.
Who else might be on the move in January? FootballTransfers takes a closer look…
Rayan Cherki (Lyon)
Considered perhaps the brightest graduate of a fabled Lyon academy that has produced Karim Benzema, Samuel Umtiti and Alexandre Lacazette among others, Cherki has fallen on difficult times with his hometown club.
Fabio Grosso didn’t fancy the youngster, and although his interim replacement Pierre Sage has reintegrated him into the squad, l’Equipereport that Lyon are willing to accept just €10 million to offload the talented attacking midfielder. PSG, Chelsea and Manchester United are among those to have previously been credited with an interest, with the latter seriously considering making a move, as revealed by FootballTransfers.
⚽ Need a striker, anyone?
Lyon are willing to sell Moussa Dembele but, sorry, Rayan Cherki’s not for sale.pic.twitter.com/KBLaqGUwSS
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) August 29, 2022
Khephren Thuram (Nice)
With Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25 per cent takeover ratified, attention now turns to the players he might bring with him to Old Trafford from Nice, with Khephren Thuram and Jean-Clair Todibo looking to be top of his shopping list.
Interest in Thuram extends beyond Manchester, though, with Liverpool harbouring a long-term interest in the recent France cap, and he has two years less to run on his existing contract than Todibo. Nice could decide to cash in sooner rather than later.
Man Utd and Liverpool snubbed again? ❌
The agent of Khephren Thuram’s famous father wants him to sign for Real Madrid! 👀 pic.twitter.com/YkqeUAWJ5Q
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) November 20, 2023
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Of course, no such list is complete without Mbappe. Madrid are overwhelming favourites to secure the signature of a player they first agreed terms with in May 2022 before his sensational U-turn to stay with PSG, and a summer transfer to the Bernabeu has the shortest odds with bookies.
But the richest clubs in the world – be it from the Premier League or the Saudi Pro League – will no doubt try to test PSG’s and Mbappe’s resolve with bumper bids that could restore his status as the game’s highest-paid player.
Leny Yoro (Lille)
Leny Yoro has burst onto the scene with Lille this season, helping forge Ligue 1’s second-best defensive record despite only turning 18 last month. Already a France U21 international, the centre-back is out of contract in 2025.
That means a bidding war is likely to ensure next summer at the latest, but it is understood that Lille have slapped a €50m price tag on Yoro’s head, with Man Utd, Chelsea and PSG looking to steal a march on the competition in January.
Ismael Doukoure (Strasbourg)
Strasbourg also offer a point of interest, with the Alsatian side now backed by Todd Boehly’s BluCo consortium, who also own Chelsea. The Blues will have first dips on Le Racing’s players, and none are more appealing than Ismael Doukoure.
A centre-back, he is already an expert and beating the press with an average of one successful take-on per game, and manager Patrick Vieira has tipped the 20-year-old for full international recognition soon.