Recruitment plans will be well underway in Premier League boardrooms as the winter window fast approaches, the turn of the new year providing clubs with a chance to strengthen their options in January.
Each side will be well aware of their strengths and weaknesses following the opening months of the campaign, and could look to enter the market as they bid to build on their progress or revive their fortunes.
Ahead of the January transfer window we’ve looked across the continent at several players who could be of interest to Premier League clubs, with this feature heading to France’s top tier to profile some intriguing talents.
Here are five Ligue 1 players who should interest Premier League clubs in January:
Lille remain one of the most impressive sides in French football with their savvy recruitment model continually producing players, whilst allowing the club to remain competitive both domestically and in Europe.
Whilst Paris Saint-Germain have largely dominated the Ligue 1 landscape over the past decade, Lille have been inventive in their methods of competing and have continually churned out players before selling them on for huge profits to Europe’s leading sides.
Amongst the names to have headed to the Premier League include Eden Hazard, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Magalhaes, with director of football Luis Campos having proven a shrewd operator when it comes to unearthing hidden gems.
Lille currently lead the title race in France and are in possession of a wealth of exciting talents, including winger Jonathan Bamba who has enjoyed an excellent start to the 2020/21 season.
The 24-year-old came through the academy system at Saint-Etienne before moving to Lille on a free transfer in 2018, enjoying an impressive debut campaign to score 13 league goals before a difficult spell last season.
Bamba has returned to form in fine fashion this time around and has scored five goals in addition to providing a league-leading six assists in 14 starts, with only Kylian Mbappe having been directly involved in more goals so far this season.
The surprise that came with his omission from the France squad for November’s internationals is a testament to his form so far this season, a player with a low-centre of gravity and explosive turn of pace who is beginning to improve his decision-making in attacking areas.
Lille often drive a hard bargain but have proven they are prepared to sell at the right price, and Bamba offers an interesting wide option for any side seeking creativity and goal threat.
Premier League clubs have reportedly been left on red-alert following a blistering start to the season for Reims forward Boulaye Dia, with Arsenal, Everton and Newcastle amongst the sides to have been linked with the in-form forward.
Dia trails only Kylian Mbappe in the race to finish as Ligue 1’s leading scorer having netted nine times in just 12 league appearances so far this season, his form earning international recognition with a first call-up and cap for Senegal in October.
Dia’s prolific return has been all the more impressive given Reims’ struggles over the opening weeks of the season, with the club currently 17th in the division having won just three of their opening 15 fixtures.
Premier League sides will no doubt have been impressed by the 24-year-old’s record given his limited service so far this season, whilst the player himself has spoken of his interest in moving to English football following reported summer interest from Brighton.
Dia is powerful and strong and has made significant progress since signing for Reims two years ago, with reports suggesting he could be available for as little as £10m for any side seeking additional firepower, the forward also interesting both Lyon and Marseille.
Another player shining for one of French football’s lesser lights, Brest midfielder Romain Faivre has attracted attention following his creative displays during the current campaign.
The youngster was handed his debut for the France U21 side earlier this year and has since scored twice in four appearances, whilst his statistics make for exciting reading for a player whose style is both captivating and care-free.
Faivre has scored three goals and provided two assists in 15 appearances so far this season, but it his dribbling ability that has captured the attention of a wider audience.
The 22-year-old trails only Neymar for number of players dribbled past in Ligue 1 during the current campaign, whilst no player can better his 65 shot-creating actions or distance progressed with the ball at his feet.
Allowed to leave Monaco during the summer the youngster has since flourished with regular first-team football at Brest and whilst he remains raw, could provide the x-factor for a Premier League side seeking ingenuity.
Lyon’s hugely successful academy system continues to produce fine talents, with a number of leading sides have reportedly tracked the progress of Houssem Aouar in recent months.
Aouar made his first-team debut three years ago and has since racked up almost 150 appearances in all competitions for Lyon, starring during the club’s run to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.
The 22-year-old is diminutive in stature but often makes his presence felt when on the pitch, dictating the pace of the game and providing moments of inspiration as the creative hub of the Lyon side.
Aouar is an excellent dribbler and fine technical talent, possessing a poise in possession and exceptional ability when operating within tight spaces.
Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for the player as they look to add some much-needed invention to their midfield ranks, whilst Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have also been credited with an interest.
Lyon will demand a significant fee for a player comfortable centrally or operating from the left, though Aouar is a player for both now and the future and would instantly improve almost any Premier League midfield.
The second Lille player to feature on this list and another linked with solving Arsenal’s creative void, Yusuf Yazici is on the radar of several clubs following a bright start to his second season in France.
Yazici endured an underwhelming debut season at Lille after signing in a €17.5m deal from Trabzonspor in 2019, but has scored prolifically during the opening months of the 2020/21 campaign despite struggling to break into the side.
The 23-year-old has started just three league fixtures so far this season but has scored five goals and provided a further two assists, whilst his ability to get goals from midfield has been highlighted by six goals in six Europa League starts.
Those six goals have come in the form of two hat-tricks, netting three times in a 4-1 win at Sparta Prague before scoring another hat-trick as Lille thrashed Serie A leaders AC Milan 3-0 at the San Siro.
Yazici became the first player in two decades to score a hat-trick in an away fixture at Milan, the versatile attacking talent an intriguing prospect for interested parties.
Already this season the star has played as a centre-forward and in deeper roles both centrally and from the right-hand side, his powerful left foot a major weapon with the elegant midfielder often prepared to shoot from distance.