Ligue 1 squad sizes to be reduced as part of reforms

L’Équipe report this morning that the LFP – French professional football’s governing body – will look to reduce the number of players clubs can have under contract, as part of its wide-ranging reforms.

The changes – which include limiting teams’ wage bills to 70% of their turnover – have notably come in response to the financial hit of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Mediapro broadcasting deal fiasco.

As a result, with 30% of Ligue 1’s 700 players seeing their contracts expire at the end of the season, many will have a harder time finding themselves a new club.

The plans would reportedly see squad sizes reduced from 35 to a maximum of 25 professional players, excluding youth players who have signed their first professional deal. This would allow clubs to hold on to players from their academies for longer.

The measure, which has been pushed for both by the LFP and the DNCG (French football’s financial regulator) is currently being discussed among the players’ and clubs’ unions.

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Kylian Mbappé perplexed over Noël Le Graët comments on sponsor boycott

L’Équipe report this evening that Kylian Mbappé and his team are perplexed over comments made my FFF president Noël Le Graët in an interview with the same outlet, regarding the striker’s boycott of certain sponsorship duties with the national team.

Speaking of the PSG man’s decision to skip marketing commitments during the March international break, Le Graët said that “if he doesn’t accept how it works, he won’t have any money, that’s it. The players get 30% of what FIFA gives. […] I do like him. I think [Kylian] respects the FFF. Football is a team sport.”

Mbappé’s team are notably concerned about Le Graët’s comments indicating that he is concerned about increasing his own revenue.

They indicate that for several years he has been giving his France earnings to charity, while much of his decision to boycott was down to pushing for a fairer distribution of revenue in favour of grassroots football.

Another point concerned his willingness to distance himself from certain brands, while the forward and his team are questioning the timing of the remarks, which come a month before the Nations League campaign.


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PSG and Barcelona both interested in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly

As reported by Foot Mercato, PSG still hold their long-standing interest in Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly but face competition from Barcelona ahead of the summer transfer window.

PSG could move for the Senegal defender this summer after talks with the player last summer, especially if Leonardo remains as sporting director, with a price set at €35m.

However, the 30-year-old spoke with Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez and some of the club’s players after Napoli’s Europa League game with Barcelona earlier this season. Xavi explained to the player, who is interested in a move to Spain, that he would be a priority defensive target this summer.

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LFP to examine OGC Nice’s Emiliano Sala chants

L’Équipe are reporting that the disciplinary committee of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) are examining offensive chants made by OGC Nice supporters during Wednesday’s match against Saint-Étienne. 

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Early-on in the fixture, chants targeting Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash in 2019, could be heard emanating from the stands of the Allianz Riviera. 

On Thursday, the LFP told AFP that the chants were going to be examined after they were noted in the match delegate’s report. Nice as well as Christophe Galtier strongly condemned the chants.

OGC Nice pay tribute to Emiliano Sala following offensive chants

Ahead of OGC Nice’s match against OSC Lille, thousands of shirts bearing the face of Emiliano Sala were distributed around the Allianz Riviera. 

Approximately 15,000 white shirts with Sala’s face were distributed and worn by supporters in the stands, whilst OGC Nice players also warmed up wearing the shirts. 

The move comes after offensive chants were directed toward Sala, who died in a plane crash in 2019. Fans from the Populaire Sud could be heard singing, “He’s an Argentinian who doesn’t swim very well. Emiliano under the water.”

The chants were condemned by the club and by coach Christophe Galtier. 



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Caen midfielder Johann Lepenant set to join Lyon

RMC Sport report that young Caen midfielder Johann Lepenant is set to become Lyon’s first summer signing, having agreed personal terms.

The 19-year-old, who is under contract with the Normandy side until the end of next season, is expected to sign his deal with Les Gones in the upcoming weeks.

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The defensive-minded player has been a key member of Caen’s team this year, starting 35 games in Ligue 2 this year for his formative club.

He had attracted interest from other clubs, with Foot Mercato previously reporting that Atlético Madrid were following him as well as other European sides.

Antoine Kombouaré first choice for Côte d’Ivoire

Nantes manager Antoine Kombouaré is Côte d’Ivoire’s number one choice to replace Patrice Beaumelle as head coach of the national team, according to L’Équipe. 

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New Ivorian Football Federation (IFF) president Idriss Diallo will name the national team’s new head coach shortly. According to sources who have contacted L’Équipe, the IFF is looking for “an experienced coach with character and who has also obtained results.”

There remain doubts as to whether Kombouaré will stay in his role at Nantes beyond the end of the season, despite having won the Coupe de France at the start of the month. 

Former Bordeaux manager Jean-Louis Gasset, Clermont reserve coach Emerse Faé and Côte d’Ivoire U23 coach Soualiho Haidara are also targets for the new president. 

Kylian Mbappé’s entourage has PSG and Real Madrid “on their knees.”

Romain Molina has reported that Kylian Mbappé’s (23) entourage played Real Madrid and PSG off against each other in order to procure more favorable contract conditions. 

According to Molina, Mbappé’s entourage, which is made up of a close circle of friends and family, “voluntarily slid out messages to make people think that he was nearing a move to Real Madrid.” 

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Molina claims that Mbappé’s entourage then used that to procure a higher offer from PSG, and then take that higher PSG offer as leverage to then procure a higher offer from Real Madrid, and so on. 

Molina continued, “Because of that, you have two clubs, heads of state, who are borderline begging a 23-year-old footballer. Two of the most powerful clubs in the world are on their knees because of the offers that have been made.”

“It’s all been a smokescreen to earn more power and to earn more money,” he added. Mbappé is set to reveal his final decision this weekend, and bring to an end years of speculation surrounding PSG’s World Cup-winning forward. 

Official | Ángel Di María to leave PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have announced that Ángel Di María will leave the club at the end of his contract next month, after spending seven seasons at the club.

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The Argentine leaves the French capital with 18 titles won – including 5 league winner’s medals. He is also the club’s all-time top assister, on 118, and has 92 goals in 295 appearances.

L’Équipe had previously reported that the former Real Madrid man had wanted to stay – there was an option for an extra year in his deal – but the club decided against keeping him.

With his final game coming against Metz tonight, PSG are set to organise a tribute for Di María before the match begins.

Zinédine Zidane will not join PSG to replace Mauricio Pochettino

Julien Maynard of Téléfoot reports this morning that Zinédine Zidane will not be Mauricio Pochettino’s successor as Paris Saint-Germain manager.

The Argentine is set to leave the club after a difficult year and a half in charge, which he nevertheless ends on a high with PSG’s tenth league title.

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The former Real Madrid manager and France legend had been linked with a move to the Parisian bench, but the club will instead move for another option.

In addition to Pochettino’s departure, sporting director Leonardo has also been informed of his dismissal last night, with former Monaco and Lille man Luis Campos the favourite to replace him as PSG kickstart a summer of upheaval in the wake of Kylian Mbappé’s extension.