Why the World Cup Might Benefit French Clubs This Summer
The Champions League final has finished, and with it the silly season has now begun. As each day passes more and more names will be linked with a transfer to an ever increasing list of clubs. This summer might be different though. As spring begins to fade into autumn, the Confederations Cup will inch closer, and with it the prospect of the real event, the World Cup, next summer.
A lack of playing time is always going to be in the back of a young player’s mind before he signs a deal that takes him from a fair to middling club, to one of the big players. However with the prospect of the World Cup next season, players are going to need to receive assurances that they will be given the playing time necessary to force their way into their national team managers’ mind when squads are chosen. Renato Sanches has acted quite effectively this season as a cautionary tale for the wrong move.
Kylian Mbappé has lit up French football since the start of the calendar year, so much so that at 18 years of age he is already being spoken about with moves in the realms of €150m. However, the move is not guaranteed. Mbappé seems to have heeded the cautionary tale of Renato Sanches and is beginning to pour cold water over any potential move, saying that playing time is the most important factor. Despite spending big to sign James Rodriguez, also from Monaco, he has been reduced to a bench player and was left out of the playing squad for the Champions League final at Real Madrid. Mbappé has an even greater reason to think about spending another season in the principality, given that the depth available to French manager Didier Deschamps is mind blowing.
It is not only Mbappé that needs to carefully consider both the timing, and location of his next move. Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso has had a breakout season, the dynamic, box-to-box midfielder has linked up expertly with Memphis Depay and compatriot Alexandre Lacazette this year. There has been a lot of speculation linking Tolisso with Juventus and Arsenal, clubs where he would not automatically be the first choice, like he is with his current club.
Thomas Lemar is another player who may be thinking of staying put in the warm climes of Monaco for an additional 12 months. He knows his starting spot at the club is assured, and spending another season playing in a team where he is already totally comfortable with the playing style might give him time to think about refusing any advances from abroad. Given he will be trying to show Deschamps why he deserves to start over players such as Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Dimitri Payet, he will want the best chance to prove himself further this season.
Ultimately though, Alexandre Lacazette gives a better example of why players should wait a little bit longer before moving abroad. The striker turned down moves earlier on in his career to stay at his hometown club and develop. Now 26, the striker is a complete player and a move to Arsenal where the first choice striker spot beckons looks to be on the cards.
There are many players that could be on the move this summer, but a spot for their national team at the World Cup next summer may cause many of them to stay put, which would ultimately be a huge benefit for French clubs next season. As Renato Sanches was a cautionary tale for young footballers about the wrong moves, Lacazette is a persuasive lesson for patience.