Ligue 1 Future Ballers

Ligue 1 Future Ballers

Ligue One may get a bad reputation for the quality of football at times however nobody can undermine the stars that come through the ranks in France. Ligue One has had a huge role to play in so many top talents including Superstars Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe. Within this blog, we will look at the biggest talents in France.

Rayan Cherki 

The young star who currently plays for Lyon has caused mass excitement for many in France. The 19-year-old is touted to be the best academy product that Lyon has ever produced. This is extremely high praise as Lyon has had remarkably successful academy products including Nabil Fekir, Houssem Aouar and the one and only Karim Benzema. 

Cherki's playing style is incredibly unique, his ball control and dribbling are out of this world. Defenders sometimes outnumber him; however, he still seems to wiggle his way through the opposition without looking troubled. 

Cherki can be equally as devastating with both feet, a quality that can be vital in certain scenarios. In no way is he the same quality however, his playing style is remarkably similar to Messi's. The way he glides around defenders and picks out a pass from nowhere is Messi-esque. 

So far this season, Cherki has started fifteen games and had thirteen sub appearances, scoring three goals, and assisting 5. Cherki's numbers are impressive, however, by far from the finished product, his talent is still very raw, but the sky is the limit for the young Frenchman. 

Hugo Ekitike

You may recognise the name Ekitike, in summer Newcastle tried to sign his services however they lost out to PSG. The French giants signed the young striker from Reins where he managed ten goals and four assists in the Ligue 1 last season. 

Now he is alongside superstars Messi, Mbappe and Neymar. This is one downside for the Wonderkid as he might struggle for game time, this will not be forever as all three have been heavily linked with moves away over the last year. This includes Messi who has been linked with a sensational return to his beloved Barcelona. This will open space for the young Frenchman to make his mark, this signing looks like they are preparing for life without the three superstars. 

Désire Doué

Ousmane Dembélé, Eduardo Camavinga and Mathys Tel among its recent graduates from Rennes and Doué already look to be on a similar trajectory to that trio, who now line up for Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich respectively. Rennes boasts one of the most impressive youth systems in France, if not the world, with Doue there is no limit to what he can achieve. 

At the age of seventeen, he has already played twenty-four times, scoring three times for Rennes this season. This may not seem an impressive return but given the collection of the more established attacking talent at Bruno Génésio’s disposal it shows how much talent there is to even get on the pitch.

Doue has enjoyed many appearances on the bench which has highlighted his talent. His talent is still very raw at this point, however, his eye for goal and versatility makes him a possible future star. He primarily plays as a box-to-box midfielder or further up the pitch as a number 10. He is very creative and is not afraid to try and break down the opposition's defence. His mazy runs and fearlessness made him very unique and a great asset for Stade Rennes.

Out of possession, he works hard to win it back and has an impressive sense of anticipation and timing; in it, his control, awareness and distribution are a sight to behold, whilst he is fast proving his ability to break into the box and score - off both feet too

His manager Génésio had great things to say about the talented Frenchman. "Physically, he is already equipped. He reads the game very well. Technically, right foot and even left foot, he is complete, with good control on both. Away from the pitch, he is a dream. Easy, calm, with a streak of leadership whilst still asking for advice. He is both carefree and conscientious in his work. He's already a pro in his head."

Warren Zaire-Emery

Born in 2006, the 16-year-old midfielder is widely accepted to be the top talent in the world in his age group, and he is already making an impact on PSG's senior side by scoring his first goal for the club in his ninth Ligue 1 appearance of the season.

With a lengthy career at the highest level almost a certainty for Zaire-Emery, it's time you got to know him. Emery had Some stand-out performances in the UEFA Youth League saw Zaire-Emery, still only 15, called up to PSG's senior squad under Mauricio Pochettino, and he went on to make his debut under Christophe Galtier early in the 2022/23 season.

What has left scouts screaming about Zaire-Emery is the fact that he can do pretty much everything. He stands out with his ball-carrying and movement, he has remarkably similar traits to Yaya Toure who made that role look so effortless. 

He is so far ahead of his years with his physical and technical skills. He is highly intelligent and can be capable of finding little pockets of space, he can also thread the ball behind the opposing defenders.

He may not thrive in defensive roles however he does not shy away from defending; his physical build helps him to intercept the ball and can kick start counterattacks in an instant. 

Wilson Odobert

The French U19 international had risen through Paris Saint-Germain’s youth system but refused his first professional contract with the Ligue 1 leaders in favour of a move to Troyes, where he signed a three-year contract in July last year. 

The pacy attacker, who moved to Champagne country from Paris Saint-Germain in the close season, is featuring regularly under coach Bruno Irles. His silky skills, direct running and goals have helped Troyes climb to the relative comfort of mid-table.

You must admire his motivation to play more first-team football over signing a new ludicrous deal with PSG. With this solid mindset and his raw talent, he could become an unbelievable player in the future. 

The Troyes Manager has been cautious with precocious dribbler, often using Odobert’s talents off the bench. When Troyes played Stade de Reims, he came off the bench just 34 minutes in due to an injury to Lucien Agoumé. Odobert equalised for Troyes six minutes into the second half, and his manager post-match went on to say. 

“He didn’t start the game, but he was important when he came on,” added Irles. “He is very humble, he listens, he works hard. He played well at Clermont, then found himself on the bench. When he came on, he showed the right attitude.”

With his appearances getting more consistent and with the right attitude he could find himself on the radar of a lot of elite clubs across Europe.