#4 Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)
Still just 18 years old, few players have received as much hype in recent years as Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.
The Angolan-born star has already been called up to France’s senior team, breaking the records for Les Bleus’ youngest-ever player and youngest-ever goalscorer in the process.
Usually deployed by Rennes as a deep-lying midfielder – almost a defensive screen at times – Camavinga’s skills seem to contradict his young age.
Not only is he capable of breaking down opposing attacks – he’s Rennes’ most prolific tackler – but he’s also a tremendous passer. This skill allows him to dictate play from the center of the pitch, often driving his team forward and beginning attacks.
Sure, some of his skills still need refining. His involvement in goals is relatively low, for instance, and he doesn’t score too highly when it comes to key passes per game. However, at 18, he has plenty of time to develop.
Camavinga’s unique skills have already seen him linked with Europe’s giants. And with Rennes likely hurting financially – and COVID-19 causing problems for many of Europe’s top sides – it wouldn’t be a shock to see him head to Manchester United, who have reportedly already shown an interest.
#5 Florian Thauvin (Marseille)
It seems hard to believe now, but Marseille winger Florian Thauvin was once considered a laughing stock in the Premier League.
His crime? During a disastrous 13-game run with Newcastle United in the 2015-16 season, he turned up to a game wearing a tuxedo, causing fans and pundits alike to question his professionalism.
Such a ludicrous issue now seems trivial – particularly since Thauvin has gone on become one of Europe’s most dangerous attackers after returning to France with Marseille in 2016.
The winger’s first full season at the Stade Velodrome saw him score 15 goals and register eight assists - a tremendous return that he somehow topped in the 2017-18 season when he scored 22 and made 11 assists.
An equally fruitful 2018-19 campaign again saw him involved in over 20 league goals, and it was unsurprising to see him linked with a return to the Premier League that summer.
However, the move didn’t come off, and after missing almost the whole 2019-20 campaign due to injury, Thauvin has remained at Marseille.
But with seven goals and seven assists to his name this season, it looks like he’s back to his best form. And given the chaos surrounding Marseille right now, it would definitely make sense for a Premier League side to bring him back to England this summer.
After all, few players on the planet can match the numbers he’s produced in the past four and a half seasons.
#6 Memphis Depay (Lyon)
Another player who has recovered in Ligue 1 following a disastrous move to the Premier League is Lyon’s Memphis Depay.
The Dutchman struggled in his brief period with Manchester United. But his form in France has been such that any Premier League club would probably love to bring him in this summer.
A speedy winger who’s become more and more comfortable playing as a forward, it’s easy to understand why United were attracted to him in the first place. The Dutchman is remarkably direct, can dribble at defenders at top speed, and is also a dead-ball expert.
Since moving to Lyon, though, Depay has become far more of a team player than he was in his youth. The 2018-19 campaign saw him register 10 assists to go with his 10 goals. And while his 2019-20 season was curtailed by a serious knee injury, he’s recovered well since.
The current season has seen him score 13 goals and register six assists in 24 games, showing that he’s also improved his finishing skills too.
Depay has been linked with a move to Barcelona for some time now, but with the Spanish giants in the midst of their own financial crisis, that move may not be possible.
Instead, a move back to the Premier League – though probably not with United – could well be on the cards this summer, giving him another chance to prove his doubters wrong.