Ligue 1: Ramsey, Ito, Suarez, Openda... the curiosities to follow in this new season

Ligue 1: Ramsey, Ito, Suarez, Openda… the curiosities to follow in this new season

Ligue 1 resumes its rights on Friday with Lyon-Ajaccio (9 p.m.). 48 hours before the start of the 2022-2023 season of the French championship, the opportunity is great to draw up a non-exhaustive picture of the hexagonal recruits who create as much expectation as they arouse our curiosity.

Aaron Ramsey (31), OGC Nice

We start with what is perhaps the biggest blow in this Ligue 1, because it came a little out of nowhere: seeing Aaron Ramsey land on the Promenade des Anglais is unexpected to say the least. Left free by Juventus Turin after three seasons and 69 games played in the jersey of the Bianconeri, the 31-year-old Welshman arrives in Nice with a fine record (once Italian champion, three times winner of the FA Cup and once in the Italian Cup, twice a finalist in the Europa League) and a significant experience of the very high level (81 European Cup matches, including 65 in the Champions League).

The former Gunners executive will quickly be given the reins of midfield by Lucien Favre, where his knowledge of the game could perfectly complement the athletic impact of Khephren Thuram. It remains to be seen in what physical condition the international arrives (74 caps, 20 goals), often injured with Juve and who comes out of four months on loan for 13 games with Glasgow Rangers.

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Junya Ito (29), Stade de Reims

His first appearance with the Reims jersey, Sunday in a friendly against Sassuolo (2-2), allowed a glimpse of some of his talent. Started 45 minutes on the right wing, Junya Ito only needed ten seconds to provide a pass that could have been decisive for El Bilal Touré. In the 20th, the Japanese international (36 caps, 9 goals), the most expensive rookie in the history of the Champagne club (bought for 10 million euros from Genk), delivered his first assist for Mitchell Van Bergen… who should call others.

A fine passer, the twirling Japanese winger distributed no less than 21 assists last season in all competitions. A hell of a performance which justifies the investment made for a 29-year-old player from the Belgian championship. Reputed to be a player, the Reims team will be even more so with Ito, who also knows how to score (8 goals during the 2021-22 financial year).

Luis Suarez (24), Olympique de Marseille

It is not “El Pistolero” who signed on the Old Port, but the arrival of Luis Suarez is worth looking into. Already tracked by OM and André Villas-Boas two seasons ago, the Colombian striker has remained in the small Olympian papers since. His Granada club, where Luis Suarez had been playing for two seasons, being relegated to the second division, Pablo Longoria jumped at the chance to attract this racy and generous striker, capable of also playing as a left winger.

And who has already traveled quite a bit, at 24: Leones in Colombia, Granada, Valladolid, Tarragona or Zaragoza in Spain, where he had been loaned successively by Watford without ever having played in England. Last season, with Granada, Suarez scored 8 goals and provided 4 assists in 37 La Liga games, making him the club’s second highest scorer. Committed for five years with OM, this Colombian international (3 selections) will be an element to follow within the Marseille attack. Who lacked a biting profile like that of Luis Suarez.

Lois Openda (22), RC Lens

To replace Arnaud Kalimuendo, the Sang et Or got their hands on a real talent, widely followed in Europe. At 22, Loïs Openda exploded in the last two seasons in the Eredivisie, where he was loaned to Vitesse Arnhem by Club Brugge (18 goals in 33 Championship games in 2021-22). Fast, clinical, hard-hitting and solid, this Belgian neo-international (3 caps, 1 goal) chose France “to become a better player”, he assured during his presentation in the Pas-de-France. -Calais.

Under the leadership of Franck Haise, Openda has everything it needs to flourish and perform in a transition game made for it. In which he has already distinguished himself by scoring the only goal of the match against Inter Milan (1-0) in a friendly. Landed against a check for 9.8 million euros, club record, the Red Devil hopes to continue his rise in European football. Lens, where he is committed for five years, can serve as a springboard. The World Cup with Belgium, at the end of the year in Qatar, is his next goal. In the meantime, he could quickly become Bollaert’s new little darling.

And also: Embolo, Minamino (Monaco), Alexsandro (LOSC), Sissoko, Aboukhal (Toulouse), Ilie (Nice), Isaak Touré (OM), Lepenant, Tagliafico (OL), Vitinha, Ekitike (PSG), Theate (Rennes) )…

Romain Daveau RMC Sport journalist

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