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EDF: these Blues back in L1 at the dawn of the World Cup

While the French team will go to Qatar in November to defend their title of world champion, a trend has emerged among several Blues during the transfer window: to return to Ligue 1. If for some, this choice is explained quite simply by a need to return home, it represents for others an ultimate opportunity to shine in the eyes of Didier Deschamps, just over 3 months from the World Cup.

Less than a week before the resumption of Ligue 1, movements are multiplying among clubs but also among French internationals. If Ligue 1 saw Aurélien Tchouaméni, Alphonse Areola, Boubakar Kamara, Léo Dubois or William Saliba slip away this summer, it did not lose to the change of internationals. Indeed, several (ex) Blues have chosen this summer to return to France. Zoom.

The quest for personal fulfillment

If a football career can sometimes be spent entirely in the country – many Italian players criss-cross the peninsula throughout their career – it can also be punctuated by trips beyond borders. Among French internationals, for example, the desire to take on new challenges abroad, sometimes with the prospect of closing the loop at home, is commonplace.

This is for example the case of the French international Maxime Gonalons (8 selections for the Blues), returned this summer to France on the side of Clermont. The midfielder of 33 Years trained atOL, released from contract after relegation from Granada last season, decided to return home 5 years after leaving forAS Roma. “I wanted to come back to France after 5 years spent in Italy and Spain. I’m coming back to the area and getting closer to the family. It’s a championship that I know and I liked the opportunity. said the French international, whose last selection dates back to June 2015.

The international Maxime Gonalons (8 selections) has signed up until 2024 with Clermont. © Icon Sport

The desire to get closer to the family cocoon and to profit from an experience acquired abroad, just like the Nantes Moussa Sissoko. The former player Tottenhamfigurehead of the canary transfer window, returned to France this summer 9 years after leaving Toulouse. During his presentation, the 32-year-old international confided that he had always had in the back of his mind the desire to return to France: “I knew I would come back at some point. After 10 years spent in England, I needed to return to France. The well-being of my family also weighed in on this choice”.

A comfort zone rediscovered and not insignificant in the development process of the players. Because it’s no secret: personal well-being determines performance on the pitch. Corentin Tolisso, back to OL this summer, also mentioned the subject: “Lyon means a lot to me, it’s here that I have my family, that I grew up, and it’s here that I feel the best. I am very happy to come back here”. In the same vein, his friend and teammate Alexandre Lacazette insisted on his love for the club: “For me, coming back to Lyon was obvious even without qualifying for the European Cup. The love of the club was the most important. »

Corentin Tolisso, Alexandre Lacazette and the young Malo Gusto in training with OL. © Icon Sports
The European Cup argument to shine

If not all will be able to count on the argument European Cup this season – the Lyonnais Lacazette and Tolisso are not involved in any European competition – this is not the case for the neo-Parisian Nordi Mukiele and Nantes Moussa Sissokowho will have the opportunity to shine in the eyes of Didier Deschamps. Long considered a “prohibitive” argument by the coach of the Blues, the European Cup remains a fairly revealing indicator of a player’s ability to climb to the international level.

Party of Montpellier to join leipzig in 2018, Nordi Mukiele (1 selection) has chosen to return to France this summer on the side of PSG. And with the Champions League in sight, the defender trained at the Stade Lavallois will have the opportunity to distinguish himself in a team cut out for the coronation and very watched, in particular by Didier Deschamps. “I will have to be good in training, in matches and be efficient every weekend. I have this objective of giving the best of myself to try to be at the World Cup with the Blues,” confided the 24-year-old defender. With 30 European Cup matches with Leipzig (23 in the Champions League, 7 in the Europa League), Mukiele, who had his first and single selection in Blues in September 2021could see the opportunity to shake up the hierarchy just before the World Cup in the event of a good performance with PSG.

Nordi Mukiele during his only Blues selection against Finland in September 2021. © Icon Sport

Same story for Moussa Sissoko who will have the opportunity to shine in Europa League with Nantes. The French international, who totals 71 selections in Blues, was seduced by the canary project and the opportunity to play in the European Cup. “Nantes had a good project with good players. And the fact of being able to play the Europa League this season weighed heavily on the balance. confided the former Spurs. No longer called up to the Blues since the Euro last summer, Sissoko (32) will certainly have a card to play with the recurring injuries of Paul Pogba and Ngolo Kante. With the European Cup argument, he could also leave with a slight lead over his competitor Lyon Corentin Tolisso.

Moussa Sissoko with FC Nantes in a warm-up match against Rennes. © Icon Sport
One last chance for the World Cup

Returning to France this summer may prove to be a system D in the quest for Les Bleus. Because if for some (former) internationals, like Maxime Gonalonsthe prospect of finding the France team one day is nil, others like Nordi Mukiele, Corentin Tolisso, Moussa Sissoko or Alexandre Lacazette, can still claim – to varying degrees – to apply for Qatar. By returning to Ligue 1, these internationals will have the opportunity to bring their experience gained abroad to their club, and to relaunch themselves in a championship in which they have shone in the past.

For Nantes Moussa Sissokothe objective is clear: to go to Qatar with the Blues. “I’m here to bring my experience and know-how to the team. For the World Cup, nothing is settled. I’m going to play my chances thoroughly and try to be as efficient as possible to get there,” confided the interested party during his presentation. Returning after 9 years in England, Sissoko will have just over 3 months to convince Didier Deschamps and his staff to bring him to Qatar.

Just like its direct competitor Corentin Tolissoreturned to OL this summer after a break of 5 years at Bayern Munich. Highly appreciated by Didier Deschamps, the world champion returns with a status different from that of his departure in 2017. With the experience he has accumulated over the seasons with the six-time European champion, Tolisso (23 selections) could be a serious candidate for the World Cup if he is spared injury. And the native of Tarare, in the Rhône, is still overflowing with ambition: “I want to win with Lyon. My personal goal is to go to the World Cup and I hope we will do great things together. »

Moussa Sissoko replaces Corentin Tolisso with the Blues against Bulgaria. © Icon Sport

For his teammate and friend Alexandre Lacazette, the chances of being on the trip to Qatar remain very slim, however, even if the start of the season could redistribute certain cards. Free since his departure this summer from Arsenal, the striker 31 years made the choice of the heart by returning to OL. No longer selected in Blues since November 2017 – he had scored twice against Germany during his last selection – Lacazette will have in a corner of his head the idea of ​​reviving and why not being part of an enlarged group of 26 players in November. Without the European Cup of course – the European Cup argument no longer seems to be eliminatory in the eyes of Deschamps since the selection of Jonathan Clauss – but in a championship very observed by the staff of the coach of the Blues, and where he shone by the past.

For Nordi Mukiele, the situation is different. His adventure with the Blues is far from having reached its twilight, and the prospect of playing for the World Cup in case of good performance PSG does exist. Aware of the attraction generated by PSG among observers and in particular among the staff of the Blues, the former Montpellier player did not want to miss the train. By signing for the capital club, Mukiele will have the opportunity to showcase his versatility – he can play right back, right piston or even central defender in a 3-man system – and show himself in the eyes of Didier Deschampsstill uncertain of the identity of his right piston.

So, who will manage to sweep away all the obstacles and make their way to Qatar? See you in early November for the answer.

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