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Ligue 1: Key Takeaways from the Transfer Market

Julien Farhat


As the European transfer market's doors officially shut on September 2nd, it left behind a trail of captivating moves. Notably, the French Ligue 1 took center stage with a flurry of significant transfers that injected excitement into the season.

Let us take a closer look at the key takeaways from this transfer window (source: Transfermarkt):

I. Attractiveness of the French league

--> Which clubs are targeting Ligue 1 players?

Ligue 1 players have found themselves on the radar of English Premier League clubs as the primary suitors, closely pursued by German and Saudi clubs. Notably, English clubs have significantly invested in France this summer (251 millions euros), contributing to 29% of the total expenditure on acquiring Ligue 1 talent. However, it's essential to note that these substantial sums were allocated to just 15 players, constituting a mere 5% of the total number of players acquired. Furthermore, a noteworthy observation is that approximately 26% of all players purchased were secured by French clubs, underscoring their prioritization of domestic talent.

--> Who are the best sellers in the league?

PSG, Rennes, and Lyon stand out as the top three sellers in the league, collectively generating over 400 million euros, which accounts for an impressive 46% of the revenues generated from player sales.

--> The impact of Saudi Arabia

The transformative influence of the Saudi Pro League's revolution is glaringly apparent within Ligue 1. Here, a substantial investment surpassing 115 million euros, which equates to 18% of the league's overall expenditure, has been strategically directed towards acquiring six players. While Ligue 1 lags behind the English Premier League and Serie A, where roughly 60% of the total amount was invested. Another important factor to highlight is that the average age of players brought into Ligue 1 hovers around 29 years, revealing a deliberate strategy employed by Saudi investors, one that prioritizes experienced players with several more years of top-level performance to offer.

[1] Note that the Saudi transfer market closes its doors on the 20th of September.

II. Who are French clubs buying?

--> Which players are Ligue 1 clubs targeting?

Ligue 1 clubs have invested 900 millions of euros in total. Note that French clubs predominantly prioritize Ligue 1 players: 26% of the total amount was invested on domestic players. Nevertheless, they also actively scout talents in Germany (155 millions euros) and Spain (98 millions euros).

--> Who are the highest spenders?

Once again, PSG asserted its supremacy within the league, splurging over 350 million euros on player acquisitions. This significant expenditure constitutes approximately 39% of the cumulative spending by French clubs. Completing the podium, Olympique de Marseille (OM) and RC Lens followed suit with investments of more than 72 million euros (8% of the total) and 64 million euros (7% of the total) respectively.


Several key takeaways can be drawn from this summer’s transfer market in Ligue 1:

English Clubs Dominate: English Premier League clubs lead the charge, investing significantly in Ligue 1 players, accounting for 29% of the total spending.

PSG, Rennes, and Lyon Shine: These clubs stand out as top sellers, generating an impressive 46% of the revenue from player sales.

Saudi Arabia's Impact: Saudi investors have made a substantial impact, investing 115 million euros strategically on experienced players.

Domestic Talent a Priority: Ligue 1 clubs predominantly prioritize French players, followed by talents from Germany and Spain.

PSG's Dominance Continues: PSG remains the highest spender with 39% of the total spending, followed by Marseille and Lens.

These trends showcase Ligue 1's attractiveness, global appeal, and the evolving dynamics of football economics. The league is set for an exciting and competitive season with these acquisitions shaping its landscape.


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