Ligue 1 Daily – Speculation heats up winter break

Domestic action lies dormant until the middle of January as football in France puts its feet up and enjoys the midpoint of the season. With little to discuss in terms of incidents on the field, transfer rumours intensify as the turn of the years draws nearer. Second-placed Paris Saint Germain have been identified as a team ripe for departures for some time, but Stephane Sessegnon’s future may have been sealed after a bust-up with coach Antoine Kombouare. Sessegnon told L’Equipe:“The coach insulted me. Under these conditions, it appears to me that it is impossible to continue to play for Paris. It has gone too far. I had so much respect for him, he was someone I really appreciated, but what he said has really hurt me. He has his character, I have mine. But here, this has gone beyond repair.”

Having already convinced Nene to stay at PSG, Kombouare will have to reason with his skilful attacker. Commenting on the club’s strategy in the transfer market he said:”For me everything is clear, Stephane will not be leaving. I do not want to lose an important player. We will see what the situation is at the end of the season. I hope no-one wants to leave, but even if they did the answer would be no.”

Nice have struck first in the winter window by bringing in Bordeaux striker David Bellion on loan until the end of the season. Coach Eric Roy is optimistic that Bellion’s return will replicate the form during his first spell at the club- where he impressed enough to warrant Bordeaux’s attentions. The future of Sylvain Marveaux should be decided this transfer window too, as the duration on the Rennes playmaker’s contract wears thin. Liverpool have been constantly linked with Marveaux throughout the course of the season, and a move would surely have contrasting implications on Rennes’ title challenge and the fortunes of the Merseyside club, such is his brilliance.

January’s window of opportunity comes with a further obstacle to overcome for French teams – fending potential suitors off their finest talents. Some may succeed in protecting their squads from the predatory grasp of the Premier League and La Liga, but the adaptability of teams in France ensures that the quality of the league will not suffer should individuals leave for pastures new. When Karim Benzema jetted off to Real Madrid, Lyon sought comfort in Lisandro Lopez. When Mamadou Niang decided that it was time to leave Marseille this summer, the Ligue 1 holders brought in two forwards earmarked for international success with Les Bleus in Andre-Pierre Gignac and Loic Remy. And that resilience will ensure a fiercely competitive second half of the season.

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