Top 5: French football prospects
Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all scouring Ligue 1 for new recruits - here's five French prospects worth keeping an eye on
France has always been a conveyer belt for talent and English clubs, especially Arsenal, have often looked across the channel to bolster their squads.
It seems however that this trend is becoming increasingly popular. More and more clubs, in particular Newcastle United, are recruiting players from France and with great success, too.
Eden Hazard has been thoroughly impressive since joining Chelsea whilst Patrice Evra has established himself as one of the best left-backs in the world during his time at Manchester United. Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa have excelled at Newcastle whilst Moussa Sissoko scored a brace against Chelsea to cap an impressive home debut.
The production line does not stop there however, and here are five of Ligue 1's hottest talents who could follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned players by securing a move to the Premier League.
5. Etienne Capoue │ Toulouse
Capoue has been tracked by Premier League clubs for some time now, with Arsenal heavily linked to the 24-year-old defensive-midfielder. Arsene Wenger is reportedly set to reignite his interest in Capoue in the summer, and it's easy to see why the Gunners' boss is so keen to recruit the French international.
Capoue cuts a very composed figure on the football field and he is far more than just a ball-winner. His long range passing is one of his best assets and he combines the ability to break up attacks with his talent as a playmaker to great effect.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him to a top English club in not too distant future.
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang │ St Etienne
Just how close Newcastle came to signing Aubameyang is unclear, but it is well documented that the Magpies were tracking the St Etienne forward and had earmarked him as a replacement for Chelsea-bound Demba Ba.
The Gabonese striker has reinvented himself in France since joining from AC Milan and despite his impressive performances over the last 18 months, he is still relatively unknown to those outside of Europe.
A fee around the £10m mark should be enough to prize away the 23-year-old frontman, but with the forward having already notched 10 goals in the league so far, that figure could yet rise.
3. Younes Belhanda │ Montpellier
Belhanda shot to fame following Montpellier’s shock title victory last season and the Moroccan playmaker has been constantly linked with a move away since.
Strong both in terms of creating and scoring goals, the 22-year-old represents a great investment not only for the future but with the ability to make an immediate impact, surely it's just a matter of time before Belhanda is playing for one of Europe's elite?
2. Romain Alessandrini │ Stade Rennais
One of the revelations of Ligue 1 season so far.
Alessandrini has done well to recover from an extremely serious injury and has been in impressive form for Rennes this season, following his jump from Ligue 2.
One of his biggest strengths is his technique, possessing a fantastic ability to hit long distance shots and crosses. He has the physicality to cut in the Premier League too, as well as being extremely versatile.
The 23-year-old midfielder has contributed nine goals and five assists so far this season and has established himself as one the best left-midfielders in the division.
Having just moved to Rennes it is possible he may not move for another 12-18 months, but on current form it's just a matter of time before some big clubs come calling.
1. Kurt Zouma │ St Etienne
This talented young centre-back is extremely highly thought of both in France and across Europe.
At just 18-years-old, Zouma has already established himself as one of the best young defenders in the world. So much so in fact that he has been earmarked as the potential successor to Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford, with Sir Alex Ferguson sending scouts to watch Zouma on more than one occasion.
The one complication with this deal is that Zouma has recently signed a new deal with St Etienne, meaning that someone who would have cost a mere £8m is now likely to command around £15m.
All five players are wonderfully talented and most would be available for a reasonable price, which is one of the advantages of buying from France.
Some are likely to move this summer whereas it could be another season or two before we see others fulfil their potential and secure big-money moves.
Regardless, all five players show the Ligue 1 talent pool is far from empty and there are still a number of players that clubs from all over Europe, including the Premier League, should take notice of.
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.