Whilst there’s no Ligue 1 action for another week, the winter transfer window is very much alive and kicking. Typically big money switches are a rarity throughout January, but this year France’s top flight is tighter than ever and the right kind of spending has the ability to turn around an ailing season.
Teams at the top of the table will be looking to strengthen their hopes for European football, while the clubs scrapping for survival may need to bolster their ranks as fixtures become even more demanding toward the end of their campaigns.
From the nailed-on certainties to the most unlikely of moves, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting rumours so far:
Thomas Lemar (Monaco) – Liverpool:
The biggest transfer so far this window is Phillipe Coutinho’s signing for Barcelona. The tricky Brazilian has made no secret of his desire to move to the Camp Nou, and his dreams have been granted at a price just shy of £150m.
Liverpool have been linked with several players to fill in the Brazilian’s absence, including Monaco’s talented wide-man Thomas Lemar. The Frenchman has scored four goals so far this season, and also created four more, and his lightning pace and abilty to carve out a chance from nothing has supposedly caught Jurgen Klopp’s eye.
Arsenal have also been linked with Lemar, and whilst it looks unlikely he will move in this window, come the summer there is sure to be a high-profile battle for his signature.
Marinao Diaz (Lyon) – Real Madrid:
Lyon’s star striker Mariano has recently revealed he would be interested in a move back to his former team, Real Madrid, in the future.
The Spanish-born player told Marca: “I would not rule out a future return to the club, why not? This is not a decision for me but for all the clubs involved and it is not an immediate issue, but yes one day it would be nice to return to Madrid.”
There is no chance that Mariano will return to the Bernabeu this season, especially in this winter window. The striker scored five teams for Los Blancos in 14 first-team games, and is enjoying success in Ligue 1 with Lyon. Having formed a lethal combination with the likes of Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Maxwel Cornet, Mariano’s immediate future is certain to lie in Bruno Genesio’s team.
But a switch back to Real Madrid is certainly on the cards, provided the striker can continue his recent impressive goalscoring form.
Wesley Sneijder (Nice) – Al-Gharafa:
The Dutch veteran has confirmed his move to the Qatari side, after struggling for minutes with Nice this season.
After his release from Galatasaray in the summer, the former Inter Milan and Real Madrid playmaker had made a move to France but hasn’t played a large role in guiding Lucien Favre’s team into sixth place.
Sneijder has signed an 18-month contract for Al-Gharafa, and told RTL Boulevard: “It’s a nice adventure and a fun challenge.”
It would be difficult for any football fan to begrudge the Dutch legend the chance to make a name for himself at perhaps his final club.
Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain) – Manchester United:
The Brazilian winger has struggled for game time at the Parc des Princes, and Jose Mourinho is certainly on the lookout for a new right sided attacker. Perhaps it’s a match made in heaven for the two parties?
Lucas hasn’t started a single game in Ligue 1 or the Champions League so far this season, and will be looking for a new team in this window, provided Unai Emery agrees to let him leave.
The rumours that the Brazilian could switch to Old Trafford on an initial loan deal aren’t the most ridiculous, and this could be a transfer to keep an eye on throughout January and perhaps in the summer.
Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Argentine has recently been thrust into the media spotlight by his manager, after failing to turn up to PSG’s first training session back after the winter break, along with his Uruguayan team mate Edinson Cavani.
The experienced midfielder has been strongly linked with a move away from Paris in this transfer window, and his already frayed relationship with Emery could soon hit breaking point, perhaps forcing through a move.
Although the manager has played down rumours that Pastore could depart the Parc des Princes, it wouldn’t be surprised to see the former Palermo player actively seeing first team football elsewhere.