French football the league to watch this season?
World football fans will likely look to the established guard, England’s premier league and Spain’s la liga, when watching soccer this season. Even German football, which produced both European champions’ league finalists in Munich and Dortmund, will probably find it struggles on the global broadcast market against England and Spain. In fact, the Italian Serie A, with famous giants like AC Milan and Juventus, will probably be broadcast over German games.
However, forget England, Spain, Italy and Germany. The place to watch football this season looks like it could be France. The long under developed league has seen foreign investment literally pouring in. Some of the world’s best players are now found in France’s Ligue 1. Exciting team play from Paris St Germain, Marseille and the red hot Monaco may make French football the most exciting league in Europe this season. And expect PSG to do well in the champions league too, they fell to Barcelona in the champions league quarter final last season, but they never got beat, attaining two draws and going out on goal difference. The French teams have arrived, and they mean business.
The trend started in 2011, when oil rich Qatari Investments decided to take ownership of PSG and play fantasy football. The vastly skilled Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived for an astronomical £31 million transfer fee from AC Milan. This guy can score some wonder goals and will continue that into 2014, he is a goal machine who specialises in overhead kicks and athleticism. The money continued to pour into PSG, Thiago Silva arrived, prestige arrived in the signing of David Beckham (who in a noble move donated his wages to charity), and renowned manager Carlo Ancelotti helped the team win their first championship since 1994. They will look to defend that this season, they signalled their intentions this Summer when they signed highly rated striker Edison Cavani from Napoli for a whopping £55 million.
But what makes this season in France really interesting is that PSG are no longer the rich kids on the block. They are still mega rich of course; but AS Monaco have announced themselves as instant title contenders after a series of mega money signings. It should be noted that Monaco didn’t even compete in the French premiership last season. They have just been promoted, and much like PSG they have been bank rolled by Arab money. In an unprecedented investment, Monaco have just arrived in the league and gone out and bought La liga goal machine Falcao for 60 million Euros, Colombian attacker James Rodriguez for 45 million Euros and a series of other big names such as Real Madrid’s Ricardo Carvhalo and Barcelona’s Eric Abidal.
The top two most expensive transfers in the world this year have both been in France (Cavani to PSG, Falcao to Monaco). No club in the world has spent as much money as PSG or Monaco this year, or most years for that matter. In their first season back in the top flight, Monaco could well win it. All this investment should make for a must see season, especially when PSG and Monaco face each other… or could it just so happen that the more modest but also contenders of Marseille and Lyon embarrass the value of riches at PSG and Monaco? There are some great youth talents emerging across the league, and as some clubs have found in the past (Real Madrid) the spending of big money does not guarantee success. PSG and Monaco have bought the worlds attention, but who will have the glory?
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