PSG’s David Luiz heads list of top Ligue 1 recruits

Marseille's Bielsa and Monaco's Jardim expected to lead fight against Parisian dominance

New PSG recruit David Luiz, left, poses during his official presentation on August 7, 2014, in Paris. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP
Powered by automated translation

A look five of the most intriguing new arrivals in Ligue 1 ahead of the start of the season tonight.

David Luiz, Paris Saint-Germain

The world's most expensive defender, signed for close to €60 million (Dh80.2 million) from Chelsea, arrives at Paris Saint-Germain after a year in which his very qualities as a defender have been under scrutiny.

Jose Mourinho, the manager who approved his sale, tended to prefer his drive and athleticism in midfield, rather than at centre-back. His poor positioning was blamed for Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat against Germany.

Marcelo Bielsa, Marseille

The Argentinian coach, appointed at Marseille as he approaches 60, inspires a devoted following and admiration among several fellow professionals, particularly in South America.

He is dogmatically committed to attacking football, has a strong reputation for advancing the careers of young talents and enjoyed considerable success in recent stints in charge of Chile’s national team and Athletic Bilbao.

Marcos Lopes, Lille

The 18 year old has been earmarked as one of Europe's best up-and-coming talents for a few years, which is why Manchester City had him in their books from the age of 16.

He grew up in Benfica’s youth system and has showed few signs of nerves whenever he had outings in attacking midfield for City’s first-team. They hope he will make further progress on loan at Lille, who have qualified for the Uefa Champions League play-offs.

Leonardo Jardim, Monaco

The Venezuela-born Portuguese coach, 40, succeeds Claudio Ranieri at Monaco, who were newly promoted last August and then took the runners-up spot in Ligue 1 in 2013/14.

Jardim is obliged to match that finish domestically, as well as negotiate a Champions League campaign. Monaco hope his experience in carrying Sporting Lisbon out of the doldrums last season, making the Portuguese league more than just a two-horse race between Benfica and Porto, equips him for the task of challenging Paris Saint-Germain over the next nine months.

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Saint-Etienne

The Dutch striker became a shorthand last season for haplessness in front of goal. He joined Norwich City, then of the English Premier League, with a fine goalscoring record for Sporting Lisbon and a couple of Netherlands caps on his resume.

He scored on his debut in English football, but in 24 further league games, did not find the net. He has joined Saint-Etienne on loan, with a reputation to restore in front of goal.

Follow us on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE