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08-11-2006, 05:33 PM
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New top 40 L1 prospects + top 10 L2 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)
Next to the ranking, you’ll find the name of a pro or former pro, whose style is the closest to the style of the prospect.

Main graduates (83 born) :
Ribery, Fred, Toulalan, Kahlenberg, Makoun, etc...

Main transfered players :
Diaby (Arsenal), Meghni (Bologna), Gourcuff (Milan), R. Faty (Roma), Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham), Adebayor (Arsenal), etc...

1- Karim Benzema, Lyon, Striker, 87
Ranking : 9 B+ Ronaldo
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. His model is Ronaldo and I think he’ll see a lot of playing time this year (finally!). He’s been selected to the U21 team, which is rare since he’s so young.

2- Samir Nasri, Marseille, Offensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 9 B -> Pablo Aimar
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. He too has been selected to the U21 team.

3- Hatem Ben Arfa, Lyon, Striker/Offensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 9.5 C+ -> Zinedine Zidane/Ronaldinho
He has the highest potential of any french prospect but his maturity level is not there yet 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. What will determine his year is if he stays in Lyon and if he gets playing time, especially at his favourite spot (behind the two strikers).

4- Jérémy Menez, Monaco, Striker/Offensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 9 C+ -> Cristiano Ronaldo
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). The guy has immense technical ability, with both feet. He’s also one of the best free kick shooters in L1.

5- Cristian “cebello” Rodriguez, PSG, Offensive Midfielder, 85, Uruguay
Ranking : 9 C -> Lionel Messi/ Diego Maradona
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. However, he lacks playing time and seems to play with too much tension when he does get some. He needs to play with more poise.

6- Rio Mavuba, Bordeaux, Defensive Midfielder, 84
Ranking : 8.5 B+ -> Patrick Vieira
He’s already Bordeaux’ best and most active player, and for the third 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 but has an offensive upside lately. I don’t think he’ll get much better, but the experience will help him, as any defensive midfielder.

7- Youness Kaboul, Auxerre, Central Defenseman, 86
Ranking : 8.5 B -> Laurent Blanc
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 most of last season, but this season should be the one where he establishes himself as one of the best CBs of L1.

8- Sébastien Grax, Monaco, Striker, 84
Ranking : 8 B+ -> Eric Cantona
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, and he needs to work on the mental part, but he’s also a nice playmaker for his teammates.

9- Jimmy Briand, Rennes, Striker, 85
Ranking : 8 B -> Julio Baptista
He has very good potential, because he has a lot of qualities : speed, finishing touch, excellent awareness, good collective sense, etc...
His main problems is focus. He loses the ball stupidly at times because he thinks about his next step before even getting the ball.

10- Ronald Zubar, Marseille, Center Defenseman/Defensive Midfielder, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B -> William Gallas
Zubar is another Caen product that’s very similar to Gallas. He’s versatile, physical, very tough, and he has nice offensive upside thanks to some good heading abilities. He’s a threat on set plays.

11- Jérémy Berthod, Lyon, Left Back, 84
Ranking : 7.5 A- -> G. Neville
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.

12- David N’Gog, PSG, Striker, 89
Ranking : 9 C -> Adriano
I 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’ve already signed him to a contract after Chelsea had inquired. If one single PSG formed youngster could succeed into becoming a superstar, it’s him. He’s the youngest of this top 50.

13- Claudiu Keseru, Nantes, Striker, 87, Roumania
Ranking : 8.5 C- -> Roy Makaay
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. That has hurt him as far as playing time goes.

14- Jacques Faty, Rennes, Central defenseman, 84
Ranking : 8.5 B- -> Marcel Desailly
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.

15- Rudy Haddad, Valenciennes (on loan from PSG), Offensive midfielder/Striker, 85
Ranking : 8 C- -> Yoann Gourcuff
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, he’s been loaned to Valenciennes, where he is getting time.

16- David Gigliotti, Troyes (on loan from Monaco), Striker, 85
Ranking : 8 B- -> David Trezeguet
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. He scored 2 goals in 4 L1 appearances last season.

17- Rémy Riou, Lorient (on loan from Lyon), Goalie, 87
Ranking : 8 C+ -> Gregory Coupet
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 of the 87 generation

18- Taye Taiwo, Marseille, Left back, 85, Nigeria
Ranking : 8 B -> Taribo West
Taiwo is now famous for his heavy shot. His left foot can send some rockets. His physical 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 focus is also very weak. His potential is nice, but I don’t see him become more than a poor man Roberto Carlos.

19- Arnold Mvuemba, Rennes, Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 8.5 B- -> Cesc Fabregas
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.

20- Marouane Chamakh, Bordeaux, Striker, 84, Marocco
Ranking : 8.5 B- -> David Trezeguet
Chamakh is big, fast enough, 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 of his shoes.

21- Olivier Veigneau, Monaco, Left back/Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 8 B- -> Cafu
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 showed..

22- Kévin Hartock, Lyon, Goalie, 87
Ranking : 9 C- ->Bernard Lama
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.

23- Thomas Mangani, Monaco, Left Back, 87
Ranking : 8 C -> Willy Sagnol
Mangani is looking like the LB of the future for France. He’s very solid on both sides of the pitch and already has the best crosses in Monaco’s training camp.

24- Emerse Fae, Nantes, Defensive midfielder, 84, Ivory Coast
Ranking : 7.5 A -> Claude Makelele
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.

25- Hugo Lloris, Nice, Goalie, 86
Ranking : 8 B+ -> GL Buffon
Lloris is a very calm goalie that can frustrate a striker through his nice positionning and quick reflexes on the line.

26- Simon Pouplin, Rennes, Goalie, 85
Ranking : 8 B -> Ramé
Pouplin is a reflex goalie. He needs ot work on focus, but he has a bright future.

27- Mathieu Debuchy, Lille, Offensive Midfielder/Defensive Midfielder, 85
Ranking : 8B -> Schweinsteiger
Debuchy is a warrior and has a big big shot. He’s probably not the most talented prospect, but his determination and audacity are very valuable.

28- Steven Thicot, Sedan (on loan from Nantes), Central Defenseman, 87
Ranking : 8 B- -> Thuram
Thicot will get his feet wet with L1 action this year, but he’s already pencilled by Nantes officials as their future leader. The guy is a natural leader, future captain. He’s very tough on the man, very physical. He’s also dominant in the air (his size bein 1.86m, it kind of helps).

29- Serge Gakpe, Monaco, Offensive Midfielder/Winger, 87
Ranking : 8 B- -> Serginho
Gakpe is a very fast player whose explosiveness can create havoc in a defense. He’s gifted, but hasn’t been very good tactically in the games I’ve seen (defensively mainly). Still, he has a high upside.

30- Sandy Paillot, Lyon, Central Defenseman, 87
Ranking : 8 B- -> Ayala
Paillot is also a natural leader, much like his teammate (with the NT) Thicot. He’s a fast defenseman with good skills on set plays. He’s a son of a coach, and as such, is highly smart tactically (another guy like this is Gourcuff).

31- Lucien Aubey, Toulouse, Central defenseman, 84
Ranking : 8 B- -> Gallas
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.

32- Carl Medjani, Lorient (on loan from Liverpool), Central defenseman, 85
Ranking : 8 B- -> Terry
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.

33- Alexandre Bonnet, Toulouse, Offensive Midfielder, 86
Ranking : 8 C -> Aimar
Bonnet is a very gifted small midfielder with a lot of speed and technique. He isn’t mature yet, but he could be a good one in a few years.

34- Stephen Drouin, Troyes (on loan from Nantes), Central Defenseman/Left back, 84
Ranking : 8 C -> Thuram
Drouin showed last year why he is highly considered by some with a few dominant performances. However, he wasn’t consistent enough to climb up the rankings and establish himself as an L1 starter.

35- Loic Perrin, St Etienne, Defensive midfielder, 85
Ranking : 7 B -> Lampard
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.

36- Nicolas Maurice-Belay, Sedan (on loan from Monaco), Striker/Winger, 85
Ranking : 8 C- -> Anelka
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.

37- Kevin Monnet-Paquet, Lens, Striker, 88
Ranking : 8 C- -> Papin
M-P is a fast deadly striker. He is the leader of the 88 generation, and should see time with Lens this year at age 18.

38- Sidi Keita, Lens, Defensive Midfielder, 85, Mali
Ranking : 7.5 B+ -> M’Bami
Former Strasbourg player, he was wanted by Monaco and several other big teams, but will join Seydou Keita in Lens midfield to dominate many games. Sidi is an untiring midfielder that wins a lot of battles.

39- Yohan Cabaye, Lille, Defensive Midfielder, 86
Ranking : 7.5 B+ -> Dechamps
Cabaye is a born and raised Lille player and he’s the definition of smart football player. He’s smart in his decisions and he’s smart in his relation to football. He has a nice shot, and he has leadership written all over him.

40- Blaise Matuidi, Troyes, Offensive Midfielder/Defensive Midfielder, 87
Ranking : 7.5 B+ -> Dalmat
Matuidi had a very very nice season last year, especially for an 87 born. This season will show if it was a fluke or not.

Top 10 Ligue 2 players :

1- Benoît Costil, Caen, Goalie, 87
Ranking : 8.5 B -> Buffon
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.

2- Yoan Gouffran, Caen, Offensive Midfielder/Striker/Winger, 86
Ranking : 8.5 B -> Wiltord
Gouffran reminds me of a young Wiltord : energy all around, can play anywhere on the pitch, and can score from any angle. Very clutch as well. Chelsea and Auxerre offered him a contract this summer, but he turned both down, so he seems smart as well.

3- Steve Mandanda, Le Havre, Goalie, 85
Ranking : 8 B+ -> Kahn
Steve took another dimension last year because he had a great season with Le Havre, taking over the starting spot and being one of the best goalies in the U21 Euro. He’s very strong with good reflexes.

4- Habib Bellaid, Strasbourg, Central defenseman, 86
Ranking : 8 B- -> Blanc
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.

5- Djamel Abdoun, Ajaccio, Offensive Midfielder, 86
Ranking : 8 C -> Ribery
This guy gets on my nerves thanks to his “let’s dribble in our own defensive zone” risky mentality. But the talent is there, and he’s a playmaker in the true sense of the word. Excellent technique. We’ll see if Rudy Krool can help him.

6- Abdoulaye Balde, Amiens, Striker, 86
Ranking : 8 C -> Ibrahimovic
Balde is a tall, talented forward, close to Ibrahimovic in style. He doesn’t score enough, but when he does, it’s a highlight reel. He needs to simplify his game and be more effective.

7- Didier Digard, Le Havre, Defensive Midfielder, 86
Ranking : 7.5 B+ -> Deschamps
Digard is a Deschamps clone. Leadership, tactical intelligence. He’ll never steal the spotlight, but any coach would love him on his team.

8- Kévin Gameiro, Strasbourg, Striker, 87
Ranking : 7.5 B+ -> Bebeto
Gameiro was the leading scorer last 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.

9- Rudy Carlier, Gueugnon, Striker, 86
Ranking : 7.5 B -> Saha
Carlier is a nice complement striker, who dribbles well and is well placed.

10- Elliott Grandin, Caen, Striker, 87
Ranking : 7.5 B- -> Torres
Grandin has a good upside, but he doesn’t get enough playing time to show it. Caen is very deep when it comes to strikers, but I hope I’ll see more film of him this year.

Last edited by Evilo: 08-12-2006 at 12:22 PM.
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