Ligue 1 will soon be back so you can get your French football fix! You know all about Neymar and Mbappe etc but Left Back Footy presents some lesser known players to look out for…
Walter Benitez – Nice
27-year-old Argentinian shot stopper Benitez kept an astonishing 16 clean sheets in 35 appearances last season. It wasn’t enough to earn him full international recognition and he hasn’t been able to maintain such high standards this term (4 clean sheets) but has still helped Nice qualify for the Europa League. If the call from Argentina doesn’t come, he’s stated that he’d be willing to represent France when he becomes eligible in 2021.
Adrien Hunou – Rennes
26-year-old Hunou performed well for France at youth level and is finally delivering consistently for Rennes. After a couple of decent campaigns on loan at Clermont Foot, Hunou bagged 8 goals in 2019-20 to help take Rennes into next season’s Champions League.
Otavio Santos – Bordeaux
26-year-old Santos is the still very much in fashion middle man at Bordeaux, stringing it all together in the centre of the park. Don’t expect goals or even assists but having clocked nearly 100 league games in his homeland he’s now settled in France. He might not be the headline maker but he makes Bordeaux tick!
Vincent Thill – Metz
There aren’t many Luxembourg internationals out there but 20-year-old Thill is one of them. His brothers are two others. Much was expected of the 29-cap midfielder with Europe’s biggest clubs interested but Thill finds himself back Metz following a couple of loan spells. With money tight for all clubs and recruitment opportunities limited, the 2020-21 campaign could be Thill’s time to come to prominence.
Abdoulaye Toure – Nantes
I couldn’t get through this article without discussing a Nantes player. Having lost other homegrown players such as Leo Dubois and Valentin Rongier in recent seasons, Les Canaris need 26-year-old captain Abdoulaye Toure to step up. He’s literally done that by assuming penalty duties but with a constantly changing squad all around him, Toure is the stability… as long as those links to West Ham don’t become reality!
Honourable mentions: I’ve already written about Strasbourg’s Adrien Thomasson in a One to Watch article as well as new Nantes signing Pedro Chirivella in a separate post. They’re both worth watching but I wanted to detail some fresh faces in this article.