Paris-based correspondent Jonathan Johnson scours the French newspapers and taps up his sources to provide an overview of what's going on across the Channel.
By Jonathan Johnson - @Jon_LeGossip.
Last Updated: 18/07/12 3:42pm
Despite the transfer window having only been open for just over a month there has been plenty of activity in both the Premier League and Ligue 1. It now seems as though business is set to overlap between both leagues. However, it is the French that are leading the way in the current transfer window, with Paris Saint-Germain blowing away their European rivals to date. The capital club's dealings now look set to have a knock-on effect on the fortunes of some of England's major clubs and their ability to trade this summer.
Leading the way
PSG's transfer crusade kicked off in style with the signing of Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli earlier in the month but that has been overshadowed by the events of the previous seven days. Starting with the signing of former Chelsea target and highly-rated centre-back Thiago Silva from AC Milan, it has now been topped by the arrival of talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The signing of promising Pescara midfielder Marco Verratti has been sandwiched inbetween. The combined total spent for the talented Serie A trio is in excess of €80million and is a real signal of the ambitious French outfit's plans for the future.
Silva's agent lauded PSG's plans after hearing their proposal for his client and insists that the French giants now have to be taken seriously. Speaking in Italy shortly before Silva's transfer was announced, he said: "You can write it - PSG will be the biggest team in Europe in two or three years, even if they don't sign Thiago and Ibra. I know the structure and the people that work there. They have great potential. Besides, they aren't being affected by the economic crisis, unlike most European clubs."
Silva and Ibrahimovic arrive as part of a joint-transfer deal believed to be worth in the region of €66million, whilst Veratti's signature is thought to have cost up to €18million to secure. It had been rumoured that PSG would loan Verratti to AC Milan as part of the double swoop but this has been denied by both parties. The arrival of such substantial funds now means that the Italian giants are able to rekindle their interest in Manchester City's enigmatic striker Carlos Tevez and have now also cast an eye towards Manchester United misfit Dimitar Berbatov, as Massimo Allegri seeks to rebuild his heavily-depleted side. The Verratti deal almost certainly ends Carlo Ancelotti's interest in Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric given the strength in depth for that position available to the former Chelsea manager.
Premier League interest
Whilst events in Paris are dominating the headlines across Europe, a number of potential deals bringing players over the Channel to the Premier League are in place and could be completed within the week.
One of the most high-profile players subject to Premier League interest is Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga. The Malian was desperate to leave Stade Auguste Bonal for most of last season and proved to be a costly distraction for manager Mehmed Bazdarevixc, who was sacked after the club slipped to bottom of the table despite finishing fifth the previous season.
Les Lionceaux recovered to survive by the end of the campaign and it was five of his nine-goal season tally that helped the Montbeliard club retain their Ligue 1 status, despite his unhappiness off the pitch. West Ham are now believed to be close to securing a deal for the former Newcastle target and boss Sam Allardyce is hopeful that the player can be added to his squad in the coming days.
Mbaye Niang is another player courting interest from London and the Caen starlet has just successfully completed a trial with Arsenal, who are said to have been very impressed with the young striker's progress. The 17-year-old, who has also been subject of interest from Manchester City and rivals United, is now thought to be waiting for the Gunners and Caen to agree a fee before completing his move. The striker has returned to Normandy for the moment, but his representative also confirmed that interest is high in the France U21 international. Arsene Wenger needs to move quickly to secure his signature.
Rennes' trio of wantaway midfielders is headed by another target of Wenger's - Yann M'Vila. However; the Breton club insist that so far they have received no bids for the promising holding midfielder, who has also attracted the interest of Real Madrid in recent months. Also included in the list are midfield duo Tongo Doumbia and Yacine Brahimi. Doumbia was close to completing a transfer to West Bromwich Albion but the move has now broken down and the player has returned to his club after the Baggies failed to match his wage demands. Brahimi, a more creative attacking talent, is on the club's transfer list and is believed to be attracting interest from Aston Villa.
Geoffrey Kondogbia is also angling for a switch to the Premier League, with Reading believed to be his suitors. The player has admitted he is keen to play in England and has been the subject of interest from Juventus and Newcastle amongst others in the past.
Although these deals are a way off fruition, a number of transfers could go through at any moment. Lille's France international right-back Mathieu Debuchy has admitted that he has made a switch to Newcastle his priority. He is now waiting for the two clubs to agree a deal having informed les Dogues of his intentions to quit.
Speaking to L'Equipe about the move he said: "That is my priority, although Inter Milan have also asked about me. I am committed 100 per cent to the fact I want to leave Lille and I want to discover another league. The coach wants to keep me and I will not change his mind, but I will do everything I can to move."
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' position is a little less clear but some sources believe he could complete a €15million move to Tottenham, as a replacement for Brad Friedel, despite Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas' insistence that he will stay. A deal has been mooted for the past fortnight and the player is thought to be keen on the switch.
Curiously, one deal that has so far slipped under the radar but may happen in the coming days is the transfer of new Chelsea signing Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan, who is set to join his elder sibling in London. The 19-year-old attacking talent, who currently plays for Lille's local rivals Lens in Ligue 2, is thought to be close to a move that would possibly see him loaned back to France to continue his development. An exciting prospect, the youngster is apparently better than his brother, at least according to Chelsea's new arrival!
With more deals expected over the coming week and PSG continuing to splash their cash, expect events in Ligue 1 to have a large impact on EPL transfer dealings over the weeks prior to the start of the season. One thing is for sure, France is the place to be right now as Europe's transfer market explodes on these shores.