Celtic could take advantage as Ligue 1 thrown into chaos by TV deal struggles

By Euan Davidson

July 9, 2021

To say that Celtic have mined talent from France over the past few years would be underselling it, somewhat.

Moussa Dembelé, Christopher Jullien and, of course, Odsonne Edouard have starred in the Green and White. In the case of the latter two, it was an example of solid scouting, and aggressive investment in key positions across the pitch.

With the generation of French talent on display at major tournaments, and the frightening U21 side’s line-ups including Edouard showing the depth of ability emerging from French academies, it’s a wonder why Celtic haven’t invested more.

That could be about to change, however. Ligue 1 is in the midst of a crisis, with clubs being told to balance their books [The Athletic]. This comes after Canal+ threatened to pulls its TV rights after a deal was struck with Amazon [Digital TV Europe]. Mediapro defaulted on future rights payments after poor subscription uptake [The Athletic].

Long story short: it’s a mess. And as a result of long-standing difficulties actually airing French Ligue 1 and 2 matches, there are huge sales to be made. Primarily, from Celtic’s perspective, it’ll affect the future Moussa Dembelé.

The former Celtic striker wants to return to Atletico Madrid [Foot Mercato], and Lyon are needing to sell in order to bring players. That’s not necessarily good news for the Bhoys, who’d likely see a reduced sell-on fee for the fan favourite.

In terms of incomings, though, it’s far more interesting.

Celtic can bolster squad with French talent while Ligue 1 chaos unfolds

Barring the likes of Nice, PSG and Monaco, most Ligue 1 and 2 clubs will need to sell players. According to the Athletic, clubs including St Etienne, Bordeaux and Angers are in serious danger, with regulatory body Direction Nationale du Controle de Gestion (DNCG) insisting clubs need to balance their books.

As cynical as it is, we know there’s talent there. Josh Maja of Bordeaux was a reported Celtic target in the recent past. Gourna-Douath and Aouchiche of St Etienne would represent significant coups if they could be signed cheaply.

The list goes on and on, but the point remains.

Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images

This transfer window could be the last that isn’t hugely impact by Brexit. Given the success in the past with the French market, it’s an opportune time for Celtic to pick up bargains.

Not every signing will be a Jullien or Edouard. At the very least, though, a Clément Michelin of RC Lens, or a Josh Maja, would represent upgrades in key positions for the Bhoys.

While yes, it’s a bit vulture-esque, it’s worth considering. Before long, Celtic are going to be hamstrung in terms of international recruitment.

It’s high time to take a look at the talent in France with Ligue 1 in chaos. There might not be a better time.

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