With just over a week of the window remaining, there could be a number of players Channel hopping in both directions in the next eight days. Our man in Paris delivers his verdict on who's heading where in Ligue 1 as the transfer window kicks into life.
By Jonathan Johnson - @Jon_LeGossip
Last Updated: 23/01/12 4:40pm
After what had been a slow start to the January transfer window dealings between England and France, last week saw the market ignite. A number of agreements were struck, while an explosion of big-name transfer rumours circulated the back pages. With just over a week of the window remaining, there could be a number of players Channel hopping in both directions in the next eight days.
Once again Paris Saint-Germain dominated the headlines here in France during a busy week as they sought to flex their financial muscle and were linked with bids for a handful of top stars from around Europe and in particular the English Premier League.
In an interview early last week, newly-appointed manager Carlo Ancelotti revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy that since the opening of the transfer window, he has received numerous offers of strikers from hungry agents eager to involve their clients in the revolution at the Parc des Princes. Names such as Fernando Torres, Dimitar Berbatov and Roman Pavlyuchenko have all been proffered in the Italian's direction but the former Chelsea man has refused to dive in and would prefer to bide his time to find the right man to bolster his attack.
He said: "Since I signed for PSG I have received hundreds of calls from agents proposing their clients: Falcao, Tevez, Torres, Berbatov, Pavlyuchenko, Cavani, Llorente.
"All want to come here: there is money, it is Paris and there is a good coach."
It appears that despite these offers PSG's main transfer target is Manchester City's want-away striker Carlos Tevez and last week it emerged that the Argentine's agent Kia Joorabchian was in Paris to speak to sporting director Leonardo after the French giants lodged a bid for the striker. The talks were then believed to have broken down over Tevez's personal demands and questions over the club's short-term plans to bring in quality players but Leonardo has since spoken out about the Tevez deal - suggesting it is far from dead.
Speaking to Le Parisien the Brazilian claimed: "Tevez has a great contract with Manchester City and it's a difficult situation to deal with.
"If we have an opportunity, we will do a deal if it's good for everyone. He has a good relationship with Ancelotti and really believes that here, we can do things. But after, there are contractual issues."
The Argentine international has also been attracting interest from Italian giants Inter and AC Milan and the former are trying to keep one of their prized assets out of the clutches of PSG's new money. Naturalised Brazilian Motta who represents Italy at international level has seen his name linked to the big-spending outfit in recent weeks but his employers insist he is not going anywhere.
Speaking in Italy, Inter chairman Massimo Moratti said: "Thiago Motta? He's one of our most important players.
"This makes him non-transferable. We hope he won't leave."
Rumours have suggested that should Motta depart Giuseppe Meazza anytime soon, the club's hierarchy have lined up Rennes' Yann M'Vila as his replacement. An arguably better player than Motta, albeit with less experience, the France international would surely represent better business for PSG given his age and potential future ability.
Perched next to the exit door at the Parc des Princes is Turkish striker Mevlut Erding. Since the arrival of Qatar Sports Investments the striker's future has been shrouded in doubt and last week Rennes manager Frederic Antonetti, a known admirer, admitted that the club had lodged an enquiry for his services. Everton have also been linked with an interest in his signature and will have to move fast if they want to secure a loan deal before the window closes.
St James' Park has become a home away from home for French players in recent months and Alan Pardew seems set to add to his expanding French contingent later this week as the club are approaching a deal with Lyon for full-back Aly Cissokho. Whilst the two clubs try to thrash out a deal, the player is patiently waiting to begin talks with his potential suitors but he insists the move could still be hijacked.
He said: "I am waiting for the green light from Lyon."
"I am a Lyon player and if they agree a fee with a club, I will then talk to that club. Newcastle and Lyon are talking about me, but there are other teams interested as well."
Chelsea are now looking to follow Newcastle's lead in sourcing some of their major talent from Ligue 1 and have been linked with a double swoop on France this month. Manager Andre Villas-Boas has reportedly been keeping tabs on Lille's sensational Belgian schemer Eden Hazard as well as Marseille's classy Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta. Whilst Lille and Hazard are insistent that the flying winger is going nowhere until the summer, Azpilicueta was less assured in his cryptic response to questions regarding his future.
Speaking to L'Equipe recently he said: "For me, these are just rumours and I am bound to OM until 2014.
"If the leaders of Chelsea want me, they should first discuss that with OM. It is more difficult to start in the national team when you do not play at a great club. You have to be at Real or Barcelona."Finally, just across London, one player could be exiting the EPL for a possible move back to France. Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong could be set to leave White Hart Lane due to his frustration at being unable to break into Harry Redknapp's first team plans. A move to PSG has been touted but given the capital club's strength in that position it seems unlikely that anything will come of these rumours. Instead a switch to Marseille or Lyon could be more likely.
Despite the dominance of big-name transfer rumours in France right now, a number of important transfers have also gone through involving some of Ligue 1's most talented players.
Anthony Modeste becomes the biggest name to depart Ligue 1 for the EPL so far this transfer window after he completed a surprise loan move to Blackburn late last week. Modeste had been a regular starter for Bordeaux under Francis Gillot but with recent signings Mariano and Ludovic Obraniak altering les Girondins' playing style, Gillot saw the opportunity to give Modeste a taste of Premier League experience. With three goals in 15 games, Modeste has shown glimpses of his potential but he has not fully realised it so far.
Speaking to L'Equipe about the move Gillot said: "When the player has an offer and he wants to leave, it is useless keeping him. It could be a good experience for him and he could come back stronger.
"I had faith in him at the start of the season, but he was unable to seize his opportunity."
Moussa Sow, Lille's star striker and last season's top goalscorer in Ligue 1, is also on the verge of quitting the league ahead of a move to Turkish side Fenerbahce. Last week it was reported that Sow had met with Fenerbahce officialS and the two clubs were negotiating a fee whilst the player had agreed personal terms. The deal has yet to be confirmed but is expected shortly following a strong indication from Lille that Sow is indeed departing.
Days after the Sow rumours surfaced last week, Lille announced the signing of Brest's highly-rated striker Nolan Roux for a fee in the region of €8million. The striker had been chased by Liverpool and Schalke 04 last summer and Lille see him as an ideal replacement, although have claimed that his arrival does not necessarily mean that there will be a departure as speculation over Sow and Hazard intensifies by the day.
Speaking to Lille's official television channel, a delighted Roux said of the move: "When LOSC contacted me I didn't hesitate for a second."
"They are the defending champions, a club with a great image and with strong values. There is a solid project too and what is being built here is impressive. Between the training ground, the stadium and the team, I feel like I am at a really big Ligue 1 club."
Another player on the move is Sochaux's troubled midfielder Kevin Anin. The 25-year old has swapped one relegation battle for another and signed for Ligue 1 rivals Nice with both sides languishing in the drop zone. The midfielder though very talented, has a bad reputation given his history of poor behavior on and off the pitch and it seems Sochaux were happy to get rid. Nice, though, were happy to persuade him to join and feel he will aid the club's fight against the drop.
Speaking about the signing, Nice President Jean-Pierre Rivere said: "Other Ligue 1 clubs were looking at him and an English club offered him double our offer in the last few hours before he signed for us. He kept his word and that's good for everyone."
The next seven days will prove to be pivotal towards many French clubs ends to the season and they will all be looking to retain their star players. Two players in particular are being heavily linked with moves to England whilst two other European stars have denied that they are set to move to the EPL or Ligue 1.
Harry Redknapp's public pursuit of Loic Remy could reach its conclusion soon although it is likely that the Spurs boss won't be able to sign his number one target until the summer. Having seen him in action last weekend Redknapp accepts that now is not the right time for Marseille to sell their prized asset.
Speaking about his chances of signing the Frenchman Redknapp said: "People have said he might be available but I don't think they will sell him.
"It was a good performance (last weekend). It probably put another £5-6million on his asking price."
Yannick Sagbo is another Ligue 1 striker courting admiring glances from England. West Ham and Spurs have both been linked with bids and the Evian striker is flattered with the interest and would welcome a future move across the channel.
Speaking to France Football he said: "Am I attracted by a move to England? Of course, but I am waiting for concrete propositions before I make a decision.
"If clubs like Tottenham or West Ham look to sign me, it would be an amazing opportunity. I don't want to miss my chance."
One player who has seen a move to the Premier League categorically ruled out for the time being though is Yoann Gourcuff of Lyon. The talented playmaker has continually been linked with a move to Arsenal since his return from injury but his agent Jean-Pierre Bernes has dampened any talk of his client moving before this summer's European Championships.
Speaking in France, Bernes said: "I've spoken with Gourcuff and he has no reason to leave Lyon. He's at a good club and has been injured, he needs time.
"I can't see how this player could fail to impose himself at Lyon. I don't see the point in finding a new club three or four months before Euro 2012. He will play at Lyon."
Finally Real Madrid's Kaka, long touted as a potential signing for Paris Saint-Germain, has denied speculation that he is discussing a move to the French capital. His agent Diego Kotscho denied in an interview with L'Equipe that his client had been contacted by Leonardo and all but ruled out leaving the Santiago Bernabeu this winter.
He said: "There has been no contact neither with PSG nor Leonardo.
"A departure of Kaka this winter is almost impossible."
With this week representing the last possible chance for teams to make an impact on their season and bring in an extra player or two, expect many eyes to be turning to France for potential talent and reasonably priced deals. Many talented players still have to resolve their futures before the window shuts, so watch this space...