5 players to watch – Ligue 1
The Ligue 1 started last weekend and the summer transfer window is still open. In this blog SciSports describes the most interesting transfers in the Ligue 1 from the perspective of the SciSkill Index.
1. Duje Caleta-Car (RB Salzburg > Olympique de Marseille)
With a fee of €19m, Duje Caleta-Car comes in at 4 in the top 5 most expensive signings in the history of Olympique de Marseille. The 21-year-old central defender has already played 130 games for Salzburg and was a member of the Croatia’s World Cup squad. Caleta-Car is considered to be one of the most highly rated under-21 centre-backs in Europe. He played an important role in RB Salzburg’s march to the Europa League semi-finals last season, before his side was eliminated by the club he joins now. The Croatian centre-back is the player with the highest SciSkill Potential score (125) in the squad of Marseille.
2. Thilo Kehrer (FC Schalke 04 > PSG)
According to reports, Kehrer’s transfer to PSG is the most expensive incoming transfer in the Ligue 1 after Kylian Mbappé. Thilo Kehrer made his debut for FC Schalke 04 in February 2016, before having his breakthrough last season. The centre-back was part of the German national team that won the European Under-21 Title last summer and he played 27 Bundesliga matches last season. At PSG Kehrer has to battle with Thiago Silva, Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos for a place in the French champions’ centre defence. The 21-year-old defender has a SciSkill Potential of 114, which is one of the highest at PSG. However, his current SciSkill of 90 isn’t one of the ‘Best 11’. We are curious if he is able to show his potential in short term.
3. Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow > AS Monaco)
Aleksandr Golovin was a key member of the Russian team that reached the quarter-finals of their home World Cup this summer. The 22-year-old started four games and scored one goal. He was also part of the quad that knocked out Spain in the last 16. Golovin also appeared in the statistics during the World Cup, with the number of sprints and kilometers made. Golovin’s World Cup performance resulted in a transfer to Monaco, for a reported fee of €20m. In terms of SciSkill, Golovin already belongs to the six players with the highest SciSkill (84,9) in the squad of Monaco. Moreover, he has the fourth highest SciSkill Potential, with a score of 110. Will he be that Russian player that is able to succeed abroad?
4. Samuel Kalu (KAA Gent > FC Girondins Bordeaux)
After the transfer from Malcom to FC Barcelona, FC Girondins Bordeaux had to look for a replacement for the position of right winger. Samuel Kalu, who played for KAA Gent last season, was contracted as Malcom’s replacement. It was his Gent team-mate Moses Simon who had been linked with a transfer away, while Kalu was expected to continue his upward SciSkill curve in Belgium. The 20-year old Nigerian scored six goals and provided seven assists in 24 games in the Jupiler Pro League last season. Kalu is not yet the goal threat that Malcom was, but can be very valuable by assisting goals. With a current SciSkill score of 71,5 the winger narrowly belongs to the ‘Best 11.’ But part of the squad might be likely since Kalu’s SciSkill Potential is currently 104, which is the highest score in the squad of Bordeaux.
5. Danilo (SC Braga > OGC Nice)
This summer Jean Michaël Seri, the player with the highest SciSkill, left OGC Nice for Fulham. Nice had to search for a replacement and found him at SC Braga, in the name of Danilo Barbosa da Silva. The 22-year-old Danilo scored four goals in 31 league appearances for Braga last season, helping them to the fourth place in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. He also skippered Brazil at the Under-20 World Cup, in 2015. In terms of SciSkill, Danilo has the highest SciSkill Potential (105) just after the 19-year-olde centre-back Malang Sarr (115). Even more interesting: only Mario Balotelli currently has a higher SciSkill (84,5) than Danilo (84). It seems to be a new star has landed at Nice.