From the striker wanted by FIVE of England’s Big Six to the 21-year-old midfielder in Liverpool’s sights, French stars are set to be a hot property in the Premier League as Ligue 1 clubs look to claw back cash after season ends
- The Ligue 1 season has been cancelled following a government announcement
- Unable to complete the season, clubs will miss out on revenue from TV rights
- It means teams may have to part with some of their top stars to boost income
- The likes of Wissam Ben Yedder are already on the radar of Premier League clubs
After the shock revelation last week that the Ligue 1 season would not be restarting, clubs have been left to count the cost of the decision.
It is estimated that the French top flight will lose, in total, up to £175m as a result of the government’s decision to ban all sporting events until September.
It means that owners and chairmen will have to find ways to plug the hole left by the loss of television revenue and matchday income, and with a summer transfer window on the horizon it seems likely that selling off prized assets may be one way to soften the blow.
With some of the country’s top talent already in the crosshairs of Premier League sides, now, more than ever, some of them will be readily available with sellers significantly hampered by the need to raise cash and quick.
Here, Sportsmail looks at the main targets who could be making their way to England in the midst of France folding its season.
Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)
Despite only joining Monaco last summer, Wissam Ben Yedder looks almost certain to move again 12 months on, following an incredible season in Ligue 1.
Joint-top of the scoring charts with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, the 29-year-old has grabbed 18 goals for a side that has largely struggled despite the apparent talent at its disposal.
And there is every chance that his next strike could come in England, with five of the top six linked with a move for the former Sevilla forward.
Only Chelsea are not credited with an interest in him, while Real Madrid are also thought to be keeping tabs on his situation.
Monaco forward Wissam Ben Yedder is reportedly wanted by five of the Big Six in England
Moussa Dembele (Lyon)
Continuously linked with a move to England’s top flight even before leaving Celtic for France in 2018, this summer could finally see the rumour become reality.
Manchester United have been scouting the 23-year-old ever since he made the move to the Groupama Stadium, and his 16 strikes this season in Ligue 1 will only have piqued their interest.
Chelsea have also been credited with a desire to bring the striker back across the channel, and while a price-tag of £83m has previously been mooted, that may well come down if Lyon need cash, and quick.
Lyon striker has long been linked with a move to one of the top clubs in the Premier League
Habib Diallo (Metz)
Despite spending last season in Ligue 2, Habib Diallo has made the transition to a top-flight striker look seamless in France.
The 24-year-old had been key in helping Metz keep their heads above water, grabbing 12 goals at a rate of just over one in every two matches.
That kind of form for a struggling side has caught the eye in England, with Chelsea linked with a £17m move for the Senegal international.
He had in January stated his desire to remain at Metz until the end of the season, but now that has been accelerated he could be tempted to try his luck outside of France.
Habib Diallo has impressed in this Ligue 1 campaign and has been heavily linked with Chelsea
Victor Osimhen (Lille)
One of the finds of the summer as director of football Luis Campos worked his magic once more for Lille, Victor Osimhen has been a revelation in Ligue 1.
The little-known forward was signed from Charleroi in the summer for around £11m and has fired in 13 goals for Les Douges.
That track record, as well as some impressive moments in Europe, have caught the eye of Liverpool, who have reportedly opened talks with the Nigerian’s representatives.
Talk has been of a possible £65m swoop, but there is room to haggle given the Ligue 1 predicament.
Victor Osimhen was a purchase devised by the Luis Campos and the Nigerian has shone at Lille
Ibrahim Sangare (Toulouse)
It has been a miserable season for Toulouse, who have been sat rock-bottom of the Ligue 1 table for the duration of it.
The premature end to the season is almost a relief, with their demotion to the second tier almost inevitable.
There have been few bright points for the beleaguered club, but the form of midfielder Ibrahim Sangare at least gave them some lift during the campaign.
With revenue now lost, and relegation to Ligue 2 looming, it is a near certainty that Sangare will be sold to help boost the coffers.
Still only 22, Sangare could be available for as little as £13m (€15m), and has previously been linked with a move to Everton.
Ibrahim Sangare (left) has been the bright spark in an otherwise dismal season for Toulouse
Serhou Guirassy (Amiens)
In a team destined for the drop, nine goals is not a bad return.
Serhou Guirassy has done his level best to keep Amiens from falling through the trapdoor in France this season, but it doesn’t look to be enough after the decision to end the season was made.
The 23-year-old is already a reported target for West Ham, who are willing to pay up to £20m for him.
Needing the cash should they be demoted, there are other suitors, too, with Tottenham scouts having previously watched the striker in action, as well as Leicester City.
Amiens striker Serhou Guirassy (left) has already been linked with a move to West Ham United
Boubakary Soumare (Lille)
Having turned down the chance to move to the Premier League in January, it appears that will almost certainly not be the case when clubs come calling for Boubakary Soumare this summer.
Newcastle United had a £35m bid accepted, only for the Lille midfielder to turn down the chance of the move and stay in France.
Now, with his price tag thought to be that little bit higher and the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool now understood to be sniffing around, it appears a case of not if but who the 21-year-old will join.
Boubakary Soumare was the subject of a bid from Newcastle in January and is still a target
Bouna Sarr (Marseille)
Having spent his entire career in France, Bouna Sarr may finally be about to set his sights on pastures new.
The 28-year-old wing-back has spent his professional career at just two clubs – Metz and Marseille – swapping the north of France for the south back in 2014.
Now appears an ideal time to broaden his horizons, with clubs in England, Germany and Spain all considering a move.
Everton and West Ham have both scouted the defender, according to L’Equipe, and the Premier League could prove an enticing option in the latter stages of his career.
Bouna Sarr has spent his whole career in France but could now be set for pastures new
Ibrahima Diallo (Brest)
While a tad cliched, it is not without merit that Ibrahima Diallo has been likened to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.
His impressive displays over the last two seasons with Brest has seen several Premier League clubs linked with his signature, including Everton.
There is interest from both in France and elsewhere around Europe – with Sevilla heavily linked – but with a supposed valuation of around just £13m, English clubs would once again be well-placed for any bidding war involving the 21-year-old.
Brest star Ibrahima Diallo has been likened to Chelsea’s defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante
Abdoulaye Toure (Nantes)
Central midfielder Andoulaye Toure only took the captain’s armband at Nantes this season when Valentin Rongier left for Marseille, and he could soon be following his former team-mate out the door.
West Ham and Burnley have both been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old, who has done little to play down his ambitions of moving to a bigger club.
Speaking to Onze Mondial earlier this year, he said: ‘I’ve made it clear that I wanted to leave, to discover something new.
‘I’m an ambitious person, so you have to go to bigger clubs and gain a little bit more perspective.’
Abdoulaye Toure has impressed as captain at Nantes, turning heads across the channel
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