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01-19-2006, 09:25 AM
  #42
Evilo
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New top 50 L1 prospects

In order to describe each player’s potential and chance of reaching it, I put up a mark similar to HF’s rankings :
From 1 to 10 ranks the potential of the player (10 being a Maradona or Pele)
From A to F the chance of reaching it (A being there already)

1- Hatem Ben Arfa, Lyon, Striker/Offensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 9.5 C
He has the highest potential of any french prospect, so that’s why he ranks #1 in my book. Obviously, the C part is based on his maturity level and the few holes in his game (defensive game mainly). When Hatem reaches maturity (if he ever does in fact), he’ll be absolutely unstoppable IMO. He can dribble through anyone, can make blind passes look easy, and has a very good shot. His offensive sense is second to very few. He can shoot the free kick and is very poised on penalties. He’s not afraid of taking responsabilities, so in a sense he’s mature, but the big progress he has to make is making the right choices, and not being selfish.
PS : Euro champs with the 87 generation.

2- Frank Ribéry, Marseille, Striker/Offensive Midfielder, 83
Ranking : 9 B+
I don’t think we’ll see much progress in Ribéry, except maybe for consistency. He’s already arguably the best player in L1 at only 22 years old. His dribbling is dazzling, he has a good shot, and is a great passer. His corners are the most dangerous in L1. His main progression possibilities are playing more with Nasri and his strikers. Still he seems to play well under pressure, and that’s a good sign.
The big question mark for me is whether he’ll avoid big career mistakes. He doesn’t seem to bright so it is indeed a possibility.

3- Karim Benzema, Lyon, Striker, 87
Ranking : 9 B+
The guy is a sure fire superstar. Very intelligent player, who knows he has to work hard to succeed, despite his great talents. Obviously, he’s always been in Ben Arfa’s shadow, but many people have claimed for a long time that he’ll be the better player, thanks to his superior mental game and maturity. The guy is a sniper, very similar to Trézéguet (shoot on target every time it seems), but with better all around skills (faster, good passing, good dribbling). Obviously, he’s not on Trezegol’s level yet as far as killer instinct and clutchness, but he has the tools to be there in a few years.
PS : Euro champs with the 87 generation.

4- Cristian “cebello” Rodriguez, PSG, Offensive Midfielder, 85, Uruguay
Ranking : 9 B
Some have already called him a Maradona clone (like Messi), and even though it’s obviously a stretch, his game is very similar to Diego. Fast-paced dribbling, effective shooting, precise passing. But more than anything, it’s the sudden accelerations that striker the similarity. At any given moment, he can take the ball, dribble through three defensemen and score a goal. He’s also a tough customer, as he played nearly a full game (from the 10th to the 80th minute) with a twisted ankle. He is a treat to watch. His ranking could go to 9.5 B if he continues like that.

5- Samir Nasri, Marseille, Offensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 9B
Nasri has ups and downs and seems fragile physically (getting tired after a stretch of games). That’s for the negative. Because the rest of his game is just incredible. He’s fast, is a good passer, above-average shooter, but his main forte is his ability to make good choices when dribbling at full speed. The guy just has superior football sense and awareness. He’s IMO a pretty much lock for the national team in a few years.
PS : Euro champs with the 87 generation and named MVP.

6- Jérémy Toulalan, Nantes, Defensive Midfielder, 83
Ranking : 8.5 B
Toulalan is out of the top 5 because of 5 exceptionnal offensive talent, but when it comes to defensive midfielders, none is a better prospect than Toulalan. He’s just a motor, winning every challenge and he has very good offensive sense as well, knowing when to pass and when to shoot.
He isn’t as dominant this year as he was last year, but that’s probably because he was bothered by his aborted transfer to Lyon and a few small injuries. I expect him to have a dominant second half, and reach stardom for a bigger team next year.

7- Jérémy Menez, Sochaux, Striker/Offensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 9 B-
Now often played as offensive midfielder (even winger at times) instead of striker, Menez is still that incredibly talented offensive force that can turn a game around on one single play. Often pointed as a selfish player, he has to work on his consistency and mental game, but the talent is there and astounding. As a reminder, he was the youngest pro player to sign a pro contract, the youngest player to play in L1, the youngest player to score a goal, and the youngest player to score a hattrick (in 12 minutes against Bordeaux and Ramé). This year, after a rough start, he’s been Sochaux’ best player over the past two months and seemingly their only producing offensive player (either through goals or assists).
PS : Euro champs with the 87 generation.

8- Rio Mavuba, Bordeaux, Defensive Midfielder, 84
Ranking : 8.5 B+
He’s already Bordeaux’ best and most active player, and for the second year in a row. He seems never tired, runs for 90 minutes and plays a “no brainer” type of game : take the ball away, pass it to offensive player. He’s a classic defensive midfielder with a limited offensive upside. I don’t think he’ll get much better, but the experience will help him, as any defensive midfielder.
PS : Toulon tournament winner and MVP.

9- Fred, Lyon, Striker, 83, Brazil
Ranking : 8.5 B
The brazilian striker is a very complete forward, with a deadly scoring touch. He has a very powerful shot, and is among the best in L1 for headers. He reminds me of a certain Jardel a few years back, when he was among the best strikers in the world. Not overly fast, but a real finisher with good positionning. He surely loves playing with passers like Malouda, Govou, Juninho or Ben Arfa.

10- Youness Kaboul, Auxerre, Central Defenseman, 86
Ranking : 8.5 B
The young tall defenseman still reminds me of Laurent Blanc. He has exceptionnal vision and is a true leader. Poise is like a second nature for him, and it took him two or three games to be Auxerre’s best defenseman last year. He’s been injured all season so far, but I can’t see him drop out of the top 10 when he comes back.
PS : Euro champs with the 86 generation.

11- Abou Diaby, Arsenal, Defensive midfielder/Offensive midfielder/Winger, 86
Ranking : 8.5 B-
Diaby has exceptionnal tools, but his versatility is also a trouble, because it seems he hasn’t found a true position yet. Often compared to Vieira (they look exactly the same), his game is more technical, and obviously not as powerful... yet. I still think he should play as defensive midfielder and use his offensive skills (dribbling, shooting) from time to time. He can score some pretty nice goals, but he needs to work on his consistency and decision making, especially using his teammates better.
PS : Euro champs with the 86 generation.

12- Tomas Kahlenberg, Auxerre, Offensive midfielder/Winger, 83, Denmark
Ranking : 8 B+
As much as he was hyped by dane posters, it seems it was not enough still. The guy had absolutely no adaptation period and was Auxerre’s playmaker from day one. His main forte is passing, especially on set plays. He’s L1’s best passer and can score a few beauties of his own. I like this player a lot because he does it all on the field, and works his butt off. He doesn’t have the ceiling that other guys on the list have (hence the 8), but he’s a sure fire international to me (meaning for a long time).

13- Sébastien Grax, Troyes (on loan from Monaco), Striker, 84
Ranking : 8 B
He could have higher potential, but I think an 8 is just right : a regular 15-20 goals scorer in any league. I don’t think he’ll ever be a Henry, Trézéguet or Anelka, but he could be a very good scoring machine. He has lots of tools and has a VERY nice shot. He’s a bit streaky, but it’s quite funny to think that he’d be Monaco’s best scorer this year, even though they felt they didn’t need him again this season.

14- Jimmy Briand, Rennes, Striker, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B-
He has very good potential, because he has a lot of qualities : speed, finishing touch, excellent awareness, good collective sense, etc...
However, I’m not sure he has the maturity to reach his full potential, as he’s said to be rather cocky. Still the comparisons with Henry are valid.

15- Jérémy Berthod, Lyon, Left Back, 84
Ranking : 7.5 A
Berthod will never be a Zambrotta, but he’ll be a reliable solid defenseman that gets the job done and that is a lockerroom leader. He still beats out highly touted Clichy (who has higher potential) in most selections, so that says a lot about his character.
PS : World champs with the 84 generation.

16- Claudiu Keseru, Nantes, Striker, 87, Roumania
Ranking : 9 C
Keseru has a very high potential because he seemingly can do it all in the box. He’s got natural finishing touch and has great positionning. And he can score from outside the box too, with a heavy shot. However, he’s very inconsistent, and isn’t keen on passing the ball to his teammates.

17- Mourad Meghni, Sochaux (on loan from Bologna), Offensive midfielder, 84
Ranking : 9 D
The new Zidane is the biggest disapointment of the L1 season. It was big news when he came back to France, and the least we can say is that he hasn’t deliver. Obviously, the L1 isn’t the best league for offensive players, but still he isn’t a starter for bottom feeder Sochaux anymore. The problem isn’t with the injuries now (the biggest problem before this season) but with his confidence. He showed a few glimpse of his AMAZING talent earlier in the season, but after touching a few goals posts, he completely disappeared.
He’s 17th mainly because his ceiling is huge, but he’ll only go down at this rate.
PS : World champs with the 84 generation.

18- Jacques Faty, Rennes, Central defenseman, 84
Ranking : 8.5 B-
Called by many the new « Desailly », the older Faty is a beast on defense, very physical. He’s also a natural born leader. However, he needs to find consistency to reachy another level.
PS : Captain of the 84 world champs.

19- Yoann Gourcuff, Rennes, Offensive midfielder, 86
Ranking : 8 B
Gourcuff is the definition of an intelligent player with a marvelous foot. He’s very accurate, especially on free kicks and set plays, and can score some beauties. He has some similarities with Kahlenberg, but isn’t making as big of an impact yet (he’s also younger).
PS : Euro champs with the 86 generation.

20- Ricardo Faty, Strasbourg, Defensive midfielder, 86
Ranking : 8 B
Just missed the Euro championships, Faty, brother of Jacques, is a very very active defensive midfielder. He should blossom soon into one of the best in L1.

21- Rudy Haddad, PSG, Offensive midfielder/Striker, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B-
What’s frustrating about Haddad is that you KNOW he’ll be a good player, but he still gets no playing time. And when he does get a few minutes, he seems to being unable to seize the opportunity. Rudy has an extremely talented foot, and has a very soft touch. He’s a PSG fan, and wants to succeed there, but since he can’t get playing time, it seems that at every mercato teams are lining up for a loan. And yet every time, PSG refuses saying they’ll need him. This week for instance, Nancy asked for a loan, and everyone at Paris agreed to the loan, except.... the coach, Lacombe. As Lacombe likes to play youngsters, we’ll have to see if this time Haddad will have his chance, but we might just waste a player here. And a big talent.
PS : Toulon tournament winner.

22- David Gigliotti, Monaco, Striker, 85
Ranking : 8 B
Compared to Trézéguet by some media because of his finishing touch, Gigliotti is deadly in the box. However, he needs to work on his positionning and focus IMO. Still he’s a good bet to develop into a very solid scorer in the future.

23- Benoît Costil, Caen, Goalie, 87
Ranking : 8.5 B
Benoît has the potential to be a dominating goalie, but he needs some playing time. Caen has several very good goalies, so it will be hard to crack the lineup. Still he has very very good tools.
PS : starting goalie for the 87 world champions generation.

24- Rémy Riou, Lyon, Goalie, 87
Ranking : 8 B
Has less potential than Costil, but is probably more of a sure thing. Isn’t as spectacular but gets the job done. Has taken over the starting spot recently. The 87 goalie generation is very competitive with Costil, Riou and Hartock (Lyon as well).

25- Jean II Makoun, Lille, Defense midfielder, 83, Cameroon
Ranking : 7.5 A
Makoun is one of the best DM in L1, thanks to a very complete game. He can be a threat offensively, especially with the header (depsite his small size) and is very active defensively. A true team player, he’ll be a very good club player throughout his career, but probably won’t develop into something special like others could.

26- Taye Taiwo, Marseille, Left back, 85, Nigeria
Ranking : 8 B
Taiwo is now famous for his heavy shot. His left foot can send some rockets. His pysical presence is also a nice element of his game. However, his game is really not complete, especially on defense where he is often beaten by dribblers. His potential is nice, but I don’t see him become more than a poor man Roberto Carlos.
PS : starter for the nigerian national team

27- Arnold Mvuemba, Rennes, Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B-
Mvuemba is a very uncharacteristic player because he is known more for his offensive skills than his defensive, and yet he plays defensive midfielder. This guy has surreal technique for a DM, and he can dribble through plenty of players. He can play some very very nice one touch football, and his forte is passing. That said, he can do the dirty work. He needs to find some consistency defensively, especially since he’s on the small side (1.72m) and he’ll never be a physical presence. If he can develop some Makelele type of defensive science, this guy could be one day the center piece of the national team.
PS : Toulon tournament MVP in 2005.

28- Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Lens, Left Back, 84, Cameroon
Ranking : 7.5 B+
Assou-Ekotto is among the best left backs in L1, and has progressed nicely this year. He has natural defensive sense and can bring some danger up front. He is quite direct in interviews and sometimes he can hurt some feelings. I don’t see him as having huge upside, but he’s as steady as they come.

29- Jérémy Clément, Lyon, Defensive midfielder, 84
Ranking : 7 A
Clément will never be a Vieira. He’ll never be a Pirlo either. He’s just a steady guy with a perfect defensive sense. He’s not flashy, he’s never been touted as a big prospect. But it seems he makes the right move every time he’s on the field.

30- François Clerc, Lyon, Right back, 83
Ranking : 7.5 B
Clerc is taking the whole L1 by surprise. Not only is this guy playing on L1’s best team, but he’s nearly always among the best players on the pitch. He’s tall (1.87m), but not slow. He is very steady defensively, and can contribute very nicely offensively, through nice crosses. He reminds me of a certain Willy Sagnol.

31- Olivier Veigneau, Monaco, Central defenseman/Left back/Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 7.5 B
Veigneau is simply an intelligent player. He can play pretty much any defensive spot and succeed. He has very good positionning, and can contribute offensively, as his first L1 goal the other day showed. He’s a guy that *could* have a higher upside than 7.5, but I need to see more film of him.
PS : 2005 Toulon tourmanent winner.

32- Emmanuel Adebayor, Arsenal, Striker, 84, Togo
Ranking : 8.5 B-
Adebayor has the potential to do everything : score, pass, defend on set plays, weigh on defenses, tire opposing defensemen, etc...
He has good technique, is obviously a big guy and has a very good first touch. He is not Henry fast, but is still surprisingly fast for such a big guy. The main problem with him is mental. He doesn’t have a very stable mind and can crack under pressure. He’s has trouble with Monaco management and with Togo’s coach. He likes to think too highly of him. He’s missed an awful lot of easy goals, but as I said, it has more to do with the mental part of the game, where he fears to miss.

33- Kévin Hartock, Lyon, Goalie, 87
Ranking : 8.5 B-
I still think he has the upside to be the best goalie of the 87 generation next to Costil. He’s had the bad luck to be overshadowed by two outstanding 87 goalies (Costil and Riou) on the national selections, and one of them (Riou) even plays for his own team Lyon.
He’s a Bernard Lama clone, very athletic, with incredible leaping ability. He’s Lyon’s third goalie right now, one notch above Riou.
PS : Euro champs with the 87 generation

34- Emerse Fae, Nantes, Defensive midfielder, 84, Ivory Coast
Ranking : 7.5 B+
I don’t think as much of him as others. I think he’ll be a useful player to have on your team, but will never turn into a dominant player. He’s very good defensively though not exceptionnal, and he can contribute nicely offensively.
PS : Starter for the Ivory Coast national team.

35- Marouane Chamakh, Bordeaux, Striker, 84, Marocco
Ranking : 8.5 C
Chamakh is big, rather fast, has a good first touch, can shoot the ball and is dominant in the air. What else could you ask for? A brain I’d say. He has a bery big potential but so far he’s walking outside his shoes.

36- Simon Pouplin, Rennes, Goalie, 85
Ranking : 8 B
Pouplin is a reflex goalie. He needs ot work on focus, but he has a bright future.
PS : 2005 Toulon tournament winner.

37- Hugo Lloris, Nice, Goalie, 86
Ranking : 8 B
Lloris is a very calm goalie that can frustrate a striker through his nice positionning and quick reflexes on the line.
PS : 2005 Euro champs with the 86 generation.

38- Etienne Didot, Rennes, Defensive midfielder, 83
Ranking : 7 B+
Didot is a do it all defensive midfielder. He’s a fighter that can play well both ways. He doesn’t have any particular skill that would set him apart. He has very nice awareness.

39- Bryan Bergougnoux, Toulouse, Striker, 83
Ranking : 7.5 C+
Bergougnoux is a powerful striker who’s fast, and has a heck of a shot. He’s very inconsistant though, and can have some brain farts. He will try his luck form anywhere on the field and will surely score a few highlight reels every season.

40- Jussie, Lens, Forward/Winger, 83, Brazil
Ranking : 8.5 C
Jussie has a lot of tools. He can dribble at full speed, has a nice shot, etc... However, he has zero consistency.

41- Lucien Aubey, Toulouse, Central defenseman, 84
Ranking : 8 B
Aubey is on many big teams shopping list as he has the potential to be a dominant CB. He’s similar to Faty in certain ways. However, his mental lapses this season have probably hurt his status.

42- Alexander Farnerud, Strasbourg, Offensive midfielder, 84, Sweden
Ranking 8.5 C-
The guy is just awfully talented but can’t find any form. He’s either injured, on a cold streak or just inconsistant. He’s a big disappointment, as I don’t think he’ll ever reach his potential, which is huge.

43- Carl Medjani, Metz (on loan from Liverpool), Central defenseman, 85
Ranking : 8 B-
Medjani should climb up these rankings pretty soon, as he’s been very steady lately. He’s a leader, can score some goals and could be a very good CB down the road.
PS : 2005 tournament winner.

44- Karim Haggui, Strasbourg, Central defenseman/Left back, 84, Tunisia
Ranking : 7 B
Haggui is a good CD, but his main forte is his heading ability on set plays. He can score many goals this way.
PS : starter for the Tunisia national team.

45- Kévin Gameiro, Strasbourg, Striker, 87
Ranking : 7.5 B
Gameiro is the leading scorer this season for the 87 generation. He’s a very small energy player that can score plenty of goals thanks to his very astute way of playing and his offensive awareness.

46- Habib Bellaid, Strasbourg, Central defenseman, 86
Ranking : 8 B-
Bellaid is very hyped in football circles but hasn’t had much of a chance of showing his skills yet. However, he was a starter against AS Roma in UEFA cup action, and he was incredible in the Olympic Stadium, scoring a goal after a long action where he looked like Laurent Blanc.

47- Lorik Cana, Marseille, Defensive midfielder/Central defenseman, 83, Albania
Ranking : 7 A
Cana won’t progress much IMO, but he’s a steady guy that can get the job done defensively. He’s versatile to boot and is a character player.

48- Loic Perrin, St Etienne, Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 7 B
Perrin is a very nice defensive midfielder who’s a good bet to be a key element to a contender. He has good passing ability and a good shot.

49- Nicolas Maurice-Belay, Monaco, Striker, 85
Ranking : 8 C-
IMO, he’s overhyped. Some call him the new Henry, but I find it very exagerated to say the least. Sure he has speed and nice dribbling skills, but he doesn’t have the offensive awareness I’d like to see.

50- David N’Gog, PSG, Striker, 89
Ranking : 8.5 D
OK, this could be my wild card, and plenty of players could say they deserve to be there instead of him (De Melo, Chiumento, Badiane, Gakpe, Akpa-Akpro, etc...). But I still think he’s the best striker prospect we’ve had since Benzema (at least). He has the combination of speed, size, skill and sniper ability. He still needs to bury his opportunities more, but you can just see how great he *could* become. PSG is not used to playing youngsters, and yet they’re talking about giving a 16 year old some playing time THIS YEAR in L1 (he would be the youngest ever).

Top 5 L2 prospects :

1- Ronald Zubar, Caen, Central back/Left back/Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B
One of the best defensive prospects out there, he's the young captain of Caen, a team well known for developping talents (Mendy, Rothen, Gallas, etc...). He's a physical freak, very fast, very strong, and can play pretty much any defensive position. He still needs to work tactically, but he's ready to move to a bigger team. He was almost a Lyon player this winter, and almost a St Etienne player last summer. He'll definately move to the spotlight next season, where ever he goes to. It's also interesting to note that he is the only 1985 guy that plays with the U 21 national team (84 generation). France is not used to play younger guys in national selections, as they would rather play a guy with his age category. He's the exception.

2- Steve Mandanda, Le Havre, Goalie, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B-
Mandanda has taken everyone by surprise by establishing himself as the best L2 goalie even though he wasn't even pencilled as the starter of his young team (Le Havre). Le Havre has a famous academy as well (N'Zogbia, Boumsong, Sinama, Le Tallec, etc...), and Mandanda is the goalie of the future. However, if they can't access L1 in a year from now, Mandanda will probably leave. He's a very athletic goalie who can make highlight reel. But above all, he inspires confidence in his teammates as he makes few mistakes. Le Havre was in a free fall when he was named starter, and they suddenly turned their season around with him in nets as they went on a very long undefeated streak with very few goals against.
PS : 2005 Toulon tournament winner.

3- Yoann Gouffran, Caen, Striker, 86
Ranking : 8 B
Gouffran was key in the 2005 Euro championships win. He scored a few important goals and a few very nice goals too. He's a fast striker with a nice shot. He has to progress on the physical side of things, but he has a nice future.
PS : Euro champion with the 86 generation.

4- Eliott Grandin, Caen, Striker, 87
Ranking : 8 B
Yet another Caen product, Grandin is a member of that storied 87 generation (Ben Arfa, Benzeman, Thicot, Costil, etc...). Grandin is very similar to Gouffran in his qualities and flaws.

5- Didier Digard, Le Havre, Defensive midfielder, 86
Ranking : 7.5 A
Digard, also from Le Havre, is a Deschamps clone. He's a fierce competitor with a very sound tactical sense. He'd break his leg for a win, and is just a true warrior. He's not a dirty player though. He has limited offensive upside, but as long as he's capable of playing responsible football this well, he should have a nice career. Another player who could have been at this spot is David M'Bodji from Créteil, who scored 11 goals as a 21 year old. However, I think Digard's game could get him a better future.
PS : Euro champions with the 86 generation.


Last edited by Evilo: 02-09-2006 at 07:46 AM.
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