Premier League clubs have long looked upon Ligue 1 as a talent-rich marketplace and this January will be no exception.
We can anticipate these five, and more, to be shining in the English top-flight sometime soon.
Rayan Cherki (Lyon)
Something didn’t add up about Chelsea’s prolonged chase for the 20-year-old playmaker last summer, the confusion lying in how much they clearly coveted him, reportedly submitting a bid just north of £34m, contrasting with leaked concerns about the wonderkid having an attitude problem.
Whatever the truth was, the Blues appear to be out of the equation now, leaving the path open for Premier League rivals to swoop this January, in doing so securing the services of one of the most highly rated creatives in Europe.
Lyon’s disastrous start to this season has left them languishing at the foot of Ligue 1. That could be an intriguing factor too.
Facunda Medina (Lens)
Linked with Aston Villa and Brighton going in to the summer, and previously attracting serious interest from Manchester United, the 24-year-old Argentine is a left-footed centre-back who loves to play out.
Comfortable in possession and with the ability to pass between the lines, Medina proved last season what a valuable commodity he is, completing the most passes into the final third of any defender in Ligue 1.
Aggressive when he needs to be and improving all the time, the former River Plate prodigy would be open to a move should Lens fail to progress past the Champions League group stage and a proposed fee of £30m would represent a steal.
Think of him as Aymeric Laporte with an edge.
Bradley Locko (Brest)
The left-back’s superb start to 2023/24 will not have gone unnoticed, particularly by clubs presently short-priced in the Premier League relegation odds.
For those from that cluster with financial difficulties - we’re looking at you Everton and Wolves - his potential low fee makes him all the more desirable.
Secured on a permanent deal over the summer for just £400,000, the 21-year-old has played a pivotal role in Brest taking Ligue 1 unexpectedly by storm, averaging 3.6 tackles per 90 and energetically covering every blade of grass down their left flank.
Feted as part of Reims’ brilliant young side a couple of years back, Locko’s star seems to have faded since. If he’s playing his way back into form however, what a snip he’d be.
Salis Abdul Samed (Lens)
The second Lens star to feature here but for good reason.
Because after being initially fancied in the sports betting to fare well this term, the Blood and Gold are struggling, as too is their Ghanian holding midfielder who has been surprisingly lacklustre, out of sorts and off the pace.
A change of scenery therefore, and a chance for a fresh start, might be on the cards for a 23-year-old whose tenacity and ball-retention greatly appealed to Leicester last year.
Should the brilliant number six rediscover his best traits post-Christmas what a signing he’d be for a mid-level Premier League side or down. And all for a fee that wouldn’t break the bank.
Akor Adams (Montpellier)
Signed by Montpellier as Elye Wahi’s replacement, Adams is already looking like Nigeria’s next big striking sensation, following in the footsteps of the two Victors - Osimhen and Boniface - and Taiwo Awoniyi.
Keeping La Paillade in the mid-table security they’ve become accustomed to, the 6ft 3 forward has fired five in seven to date, but his clinical finishing is not the only trait that catches the eye.
From his angled runs to his clever, selective pressing, to the aggressive manner in which he attacks space, Adams looks close to the finished article, and perhaps this is a rare example of football’s scouting networks missing a gem.
After all, the 23-year-old blasted 23 in 38 for Lillestrom in Norway.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*