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Talent Radar

Top 10 Young Ligue 1 Players To Watch Out For

Ligue 1 Top 10

This website has gained a reputation as one of the best sources for reading on the young talents of World Football. Attracting readers with our extensive Scout Reports on some of the best young & rising football stars, we have decided to continue our focus on the next generation. We were instrumental with our comprehensive reporting on the hugely popular U21 European Championship this summer, with our Tactical Player Reports. Keeping in tune with this focus, we are dedicated to educating readers on the best young talents to watch out for with our latest feature.

The French have taken a back seat at the top of World football as the more popular German, English, Spanish & Italian leagues dominate. A rush of financial muscle has seen the footballing world take notice. OOTB’s attraction towards the Western European country remains its young talents, and there are plenty. Here is a list of the Top 10 Young Ligue 1 Players you need to watch out for.

10 Best Young Players in the 2014/15 Ligue 1 Season | Part One | Part Two |

Please note that to maintain standardisation, this list includes players who are 21 and below, and will remain so until August 31st, 2013 (hence why the likes of James Rodriguez & Alexandre Lacazette don’t make it). Also, like much of our content, we are avoiding the ‘mainstream’ attraction and providing readers a list of players that are not as established as some of the others in their age category. Marco Verratti, Lucas Moura etc, although young, are established in the footballing world, and are players you will probably watch out for anyway, without us telling you.

10. Neal Maupay


Age: 16 years old

Club: OGC Nice

Nationality: French

Position: Striker

The French U-17 international will only turn 17 later this month but has already notched up 3 professional goals in his career since his debut in 2012. OGC Nice, along with Lyon & Rennes, have the youngest average squad in the 2013-14 Ligue 1. Having gained a lot of experience with the second side the last campaign, manager Claude Puel will definitely have plans for the young attacker this season.

9. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco


Age: 19 years old

Club: AS Monaco

Nationality: Belgian

Position: Winger

Despite the millions pumped into AS Monaco, Claudio Ranieri has a whole host of young talents to give opportunities too. Yannick Carrasco who arrived at the French club from famed Belgian academy, Genk, much before the millions from Russia did is one such footballer who could have an instrumental season. The Belgium U-21 international was given his break in the first team last campaign, with Monaco in the second division, scoring 6 goals as he helped his side into Ligue 1.

8. Samuel Umtiti


Age: 19 years old

Club: Lyon

Nationality: French

Position: Centre Back

After years of success at the top, Lyon is going through a transition phase with plenty of focus on blooding the youth. An average squad age of 23.7 is a testament to their youthful policy, with 19-yr-old Samuel Umtiti at the height of it. The Cameroonian born central defender has established himself at the heart of Lyon’s defence, and will continue to be given opportunities this new campaign.

Click here to read a detailed Scout Report on Samuel Umtiti

7. Nicolas Isimat-Mirin


Age: 21 years old

Club: AS Monaco

Nationality: French

Position: Centre Back

Despite his young age, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin has loads of experience at professional level making over 80 first team appearances at his previous club, Valenciennes. The 21-year-old has been linked with some top European clubs, Liverpool most notably. As Monaco’s big money revolution took seed this summer, Isimat-Mirin was a rare young signing made (along with Anthony Martial) as Monaco look to add to their young talents. Manager Ranieri, would have identified the defenders obvious talents, and one can expect much from the Frenchman.

6. Jordan Ayew


Age: 21 years old

Club: Marsellie

Nationality: Ghanaian

Position: Striker

Jordan Ayew is from a rich football background, with nearly his entire family involved in football professionally. The 21-year-old has been around for quite sometime but is often ignored by the football fraternity. He has already notched up over a 100 appearances for both club & country. Still living in the shadows of his brother Andre in the Marsellie squad, the Ghanaian will be hoping Elie Baup gives him a more regular role in the first-team squad.

5. Kurt Zouma


Age: 18 years old

Club: Saint Etienne

Nationality: French

Position: Centre Back

Kurt Zouma has been one of the most sought after Ligue 1 players in 2013, with clubs like Manchester United being linked with the 18-year-old. He however has (so far) stayed in France, having already cemented his place in the Saint Etienne first team. A move, however, to a bigger European side is imminent. It’s set to be an intriguing campaign for Les Verts having lost their main man Aubameyang in the summer. Needless to say, Zouma is set to play an important role as Saint Etienne look to maintain their challenge for European spots.

Click here to read a detailed Scout Report on Kurt Zouma

4. Marquinhos


Age: 19 years old

Club: Paris Saint-Germain

Nationality: Brazilian

Position: Centre Back

Marquinhos’ career has erupted over the last one year. After securing a move to the Serie A from Corinthians, stellar performances made top European sides take notice. The mighty Barcelona, among others, were tracking the career of the Brazilian. PSG finally won the race, adding one of the most sought after youngsters to their growing list of talents. One can only hope that the 19-year-old is given regular first-team football as he looks to enhance his career. A tough ask, given PSG’s existing squad list and expectations for the campaign.

3. Lucas Digne


Age: 20 years old

Club: Paris Saint-Germain

Nationality: French

Position: Left-Back

Second PSG player to feature on the list, is also the second big money young signing the French champions made this summer. Digne is thought to be one of the brightest French talents of the current generation. With plenty of experience at former club, Lille, Digne will not be shy to push for a place this coming campaign. The 20-year-old was being tracked by many clubs, but chose to stay in France and join the revolution. Only time will tell if this is a mutually beneficial move. The future, though, is extremely bright for Digne.

2. Lucas Ocampos


Age: 19 years old

Club: AS Monaco

Nationality: Argentine

Position: Winger

Another Monaco talent features as the returning club look to make their mark on French and World football. Ocampos was at the 2004 Champions League runners-up before the likes of Falcao made it. The Argentine was a crucial part of the side that gained promotion from Ligue 2, having signed from South American giants, River Plate. The youngster turned 19 only this summer and has his best years ahead of him. A scary thought for the rest of the French league. Despite the star names, Ocampos will continue to be an integral part of Ranieri’s plans; one can expect much from this wonderkid.

1. Florian Thauvin


Age: 20 years old

Club: Lille

Nationality: French

Position: Attacking Midfielder

Lille’s new signing makes it at the top of our list. Florian Thauvin is an exciting French talent who will be plying his trade in France’s top division. The ex-Bastia man was signed way back in January and loaned back to his original club as a show of goodwill & to get some game time. A move which proved to be beneficial for the 20-year-old. Lille have always been known for possessing talented individuals, assisting them in challenging for European spots. Thauvin will play a vital role in the 13-14 campaign if Lille are to get back to where they want to be.

Click here to read a detailed Scout Report on Florian Thauvin

Special Mentions

It’s always difficult to narrow down a list to just the Top 10. The above talents are the ones (in our opinion) that should be paid attention to. There are however, a couple of others who unfortunately didn’t make the list, but possess the talent nevertheless.

Yassine Benzia from Lyon’s young side is one that could have an important season ahead of him, along with Rachid Ghezzal. Adrien Rabiot is one name coming through from PSG that looks to possess some talent; opportunities however may be hard to come by. Kurzawa and Fabinho are two names among Monaco’s elite that are looking to make a name for themselves, while 17-year-old Anthony Martial has also joined the cash-rich club. Bordeaux’s Uruguayan youngster, Diego Rolan, almost made the list while Rennes’ full-back, Dimitri Foulquier also deserves a mention. Nice, as mentioned, are a club with a lot of young talent; Valentin Eysseric has a crucial role to play in the side. Lorient’s new signing, Vincent Aboubakar, has established himself in the Cameroonian national team and looks to make his mark in the French league as well. Ligue 2’s ‘Best Player’ award winner, Gilbert Imbula, joined Marsellie as he looks to play a crucial role in their campaign. PSG’s Jean-Christophe Bahebeck will be out on loan for Valenciennes in 13-14, while Serge Aurier is a bright spark in Toulouse team of youngsters. And finally, Jordan Veretout from Nantes looks like a solid midfielder as well.

Stay tuned for more young talents as we look to cover other leagues as well in our quest to follow the development of the best young talents in World football.

Top 10 Premier League Talents to Watch-Out For // Mid Season Report

Top 10 Bundesliga Talents to Watch-Out For // Mid Season Report

Top 10 Serie A Talents to Watch-Out For // Mid Season Report

Top 10 La Liga Talents to Watch-Out For // Mid Season Report

Is there any other player who we should pay special attention to? Let us know by dropping a comment below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter @OOTB_football and like us on Facebook. We’re on Google+ and Tumblr as well for those interested.

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