Ligue 1 Mercato Preview: Part I

Could David Pollet, who has shown his worth with Paris FC, find himself on a Ligue 1 team in the winter?

With the winter transfer window about to open, Everything French Football going to do a five-part series about what Ligue 1 teams should doing during the 2009-10 winter Mercato. While some teams like Bordeaux basically have to do nothing, there are other teams that are in a need of an overhaul. 

Therefore, we will start this series today looking at Auxerre, Bordeaux, Boulogne and Grenoble. 

AJ Auxerre Needs: Scoring – Right Attacking Midfielder or Striker
Auxerre started off this season looking quite weak. They couldn’t buy a win. And then, somehow, they were able to find their grove, moving from last to first in the Ligue 1 table. Now they seemed to have fallen back to earth and could use a little help from the transfer market. 

It is easy to say that Auxerre’s problem this season is scoring. While it has to be said that Ireneusz Jelen, Benoit Pedretti, Daniel Niculae and Dennis Oliech are good offensive players, they just don’t seem to be clicking. Right now, Dennis Oliech is somewhat playing out of position on the right-wing, as he is naturally a striker. It might be better for Auxerre to look at getting someone on that right side to increase the depth of their scoring squad, which they desperately need right now. 

If they plan on keeping Oliech in his current position, then they should seek another striker. But no matter what position they are looking at strengthening, it should be someone who can put the ball in the net. 

 Bordeaux Needs: Striker
The defending champs look hot right now. And, honestly, they don’t look like they have any weakness whatsoever. 

Still, Marouane Chamakh will more than likely transfer out of Bordeaux in the summer. While many experts think that Bordeaux has dropped the ball on resigning him, there is a chance, however slight, to pick up the ball and resign him, especially if they can progress far in the Champions League. Still, Bordeaux should prepare to look at maybe getting someone to replace him. 

But is now the right time? If Bordeaux sign someone now, that will send a clear message to Chamakh that he will not be on the team next year. If they hold off, then the might lose out on players available during this transfer window. So it is a touchy situation. Still, they really can wait to replace Chamakh (if that happens to be the case)  in the summer. 

Instead of trying to sign players, Bordeaux should look at possibly selling some. Fernando Cavenaghi, who has shown in the past that he can score goals, would be a prime player that would easily fit in a system like Auxerre or Toulouse, who are having trouble finding the net. Bordeaux have hardly used him this season, and he really doesn’t look like Bordeaux’s replacement for Chamakh once he leaves. Therefore, the team could make some nice coin off of Cavenaghi. 

 Boulogne Needs: Everything
Trying to keep a promoted team in Ligue 1 is hard enough. Trying to promise players that transfer in that they will be on a Ligue 1 team next year is even harder. 

They cannot score any goals, and they allow too many goals. Their defense is bad, and they don’t have a strong scorer. 

While relegation is more like a probability than a possibility, the team should figure out what they need to do to stay in Ligue 1. And then the question moves to ‘should they try improve on the players they have or bring in some experienced players.’ 

One player that could help Boulogne with their woes is Bordeaux goaltender Ulrich Rame. Rame won the Ligue 1 title with Bordeaux last year, and with the goaltending position at Boulogne looking more like a game of musical chairs, his experienced could be used. 

Still, that is just one experienced player that isn’t being used at his current club that could help Boulogne. But, unlike  Auxerre, I’m sure Boulogne doesn’t have the money to be throwing at experienced players. They need to either make some major moves in this winter’s market, or look to be replacing Caen’s Ligue 2 spot. 

 Grenoble Needs: Everyone
Like Boulogne, Grenoble looks to be heading toward the relegation zone. Their team isn’t that strong. And like the team just mentioned, they allow a lot of goals while not scoring that many; a bad combination. 

Still, there might be some room for improvement. So far, Danijel Ljuboja has netted five goals this season, the same that last year’s leading scorer, Andre-Pierre Gignac, has right now. Ljuboja still has a few more years in him, being 31-years old. 

What Grenoble needs is someone who can work with him, either in the midfield or up front. And while they do not need an experienced player as much as Boulogne, as Ljuboja has played for PSG and Strasbourg, they could use a really young player that is looking to come up the ranks. One player that could be considered in this capacity is little-known 21-year old Paris FC striker David Pollet, who currently has a contract with Lens, and is valued, according to transfermartk.co.uk at 150,000 Euros. Pollet has 10 goals so far for Paris FC, and his play has looked exceptional this season. This is exactly what Grenoble could use. 

Along with Pollet, they could use someone at every other position, period. Still, does the have the money?

Tomorrow, we will be looking at Le Mans, Lens, Lille and Lorient.

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