Noel Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation, is not happy about the lack of internationals playing in Ligue 1 and he wants Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco to do something about it.
I would prefer these clubs, who are after all in a strong economic position, to take an interest in our internationals.—Noel Le Graet
When you look at PSG’s squad as currently constructed, Blaise Matuidi is the only Frenchman who can break into Laurent Blanc’s starting XI on a regular basis. Yohan Cabaye is most likely on his way to England as is Adrien Rabiot (if his mom gets her way). Lucas Digne plays sparingly and has fallen behind 33-year-old Maxwell at the left-back position.
As a supporter of PSG I have to agree with Le Graet but not because I think the capital club should meet some kind of quota. France is currently ranked ninth in the FIFA World Ranking and the team is packed with talented young players I would love to see at the Parc. The problem is the perception that the English Premier League is the best in the world and the amount of money English clubs can pay players.
For the June 13 match against Albania, 24 players were called up to the French National Team. Of those, only nine currently play in Ligue 1. To compare, 23 players were called up to the England National Team on June 14 and every single one of them play for an English club. It’s well known that English players don’t travel well but money talks. If English players could demand higher wages in France you would see a lot more playing their club football for Montpellier, Lyon, Lille, etc.
The fact of the matter is PSG and Monaco can spend freely for the most part but the majority of Ligue 1 clubs cannot. That’s why you see players like Dimitri Payet leave Marseille for West Ham United. In my opinion, the London club isn’t as prestigious as Marseille and can certainly be viewed as a step down. I agree with Le Graet when he calls the Payet transfer “embarrassing” but he only has himself to blame for the current financial plight of Ligue 1.
It’s not that English football is better than anywhere else, but you practically add a zero to the salary of young players when they cross the Channel.—Noel Le Graet
France has produced some of the best players the world has ever seen and will continue to do so. There’s no denying that. If/when Ligue 1 and the French Football Federation restructure their finances so that they can compete with other leagues I think you will see many internationals return home.
Five French players—not named Paul Pogba—PSG should consider signing this summer
1. Paul-Georges Ntep: The speedy Stade Rennais winger would be a solid signing if Antoine Griezmann’s price tag proves to be too high.
2. Raphael Varane: At 22-years-old, the Real Madrid defender is already world class. The competition to sign him will be fierce but pairing him with Thiago Silva would be a dream scenario.
3. Hugo Lloris: Rumored to be on his way out of White Heart Lane, PSG would be wise to swoop in and sign the former Lyon goalkeeper.
4. Laurent Koscielny: The Arsenal defender has improved every season at the North London club and could challenge David Luiz for a spot in the starting XI.
5. Alexandre Lacazette: Perhaps the unlikeliest of signings, the Lyon striker would be the perfect transition as Zlatan Ibrahimovic enters the last year of his contract at PSG.