The summer of 2013 could be seen as the pivotal year for a potential renaissance in French football.
The 1998 World Cup win put France into the spotlight of world football, however in truth, their top domestic division, Ligue 1, has been in need of revitalising for a while.
The club scene in France has never reached the heights achieved by the great St Etienne team of Rene Domingo, or the Marseille team which was led by Didier Deschamps to Champions league victory in 1993.
The last decade has seen Olympique Lyonnais dominate France's highest division winning it a record seven consecutive times with a team boasting such stars as Michael Essien, Juninho Pernambucano and Lisandro Lopez.
This transfer window however, French football has captured the attention of the footballing world with the signings of major international stars, with the arrivals of Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani and Colombian icon Radamel Falcao sending shockwaves around European footballs top divisions.
Some may point to Paris Saint Germain securing the services of Swedish mega-star Zlatan last season, however, the difference this summer is, the French league was able to attract Cavani and Falcao whilst they are in their prime and did so by snatching them from under the claws of other major European clubs.
Falcao in particular was heavily linked with some of the best around Europe however 'El Tigre' ended up signing for newly cash rich AS Monaco, for a fee estimated to be around £50 million pounds. Former Napoli frontman Cavani was also a much sought after forward this off season, however he completed his transfer to PSG for a French record fee of £55million.
Supporters in France are worried that the financial power of these two clubs will turn Ligue 1 into a two horse race for the division title, however, this should not prevent the division from getting worldwide recognition. Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated La Liga for numerous decades, although criticised for its unbalanced championship, this has not prevented the two Spanish clubs from being elite clubs on the European football scene.
Moreover, Olympique Marseille and Lyon are huge names in the football world and will always have the capacity to attract players to compete with the likes of PSG and Monaco. Lyon in particular are renown for their fantastic youth set up, with the likes of Karim Benzema and Clement Grenier just a few to graduate from their academy system. Marseille have always been able to create superstars either by nurturing youth or by making shrewd signings in the transfer market. The likes of Robert Pires, Samir Nasri, Didier Drogba and Franck Ribery are just a few of the star names to have played at the Velodrome.
PSG reached the quarter finals of the Champions League last season, their first season since their new Qatari owners have taken charge of the club. They impressed throughout the competition but were unlucky to lose to Lionel Messi's Barcelona, however they clinched their first Ligue 1 title since 1994. The club from the French capital showed that they will be able to compete with the biggest names in football, something which Lyon, for all their domestic dominance, were never able to really achieve.
With more and more superstars being attracted Frances top division, the level of football being played will no doubt improve, which will be beneficial for the French national team. Promising young players will cherish the opportunity to play with huge stars and being able to train with world class players will only help them with their development.
'Les Bleus' have not been able to keep up with the success of the German and Spanish teams, however, if with the French u-20 team winning the u-20 World Cup this summer, the indications are that France will undergo a transformation both internationally and on the club scene.
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