GFFN sat down with football agent Mikkel Beck last week for a comprehensive interview about the current state of the French market going into the summer transfer window and the statuses of some of his best known clients.
Can we expect another mass exodus of talent from Ligue 1, like last summer?
Last summer Monaco was one of the big sellers, and also one of the clubs that sold for a lot of money. I think it is unlikely to think that they will be selling as much this summer as they did last summer because they were very active. So I doubt that is going to be as much. It also depends if Paris will sell some players, because they could do that for some important figures.
Then there is Lille, will they eventually decide to sell Boufal or maybe one more. The question about Rennes is for how much money have they sold Ousmane Dembélé for. Even people like you and I, we hear different messages all the time. Did he have a €5m release clause?
I think it is still too early to say if the summer market will be as agitated as last time, but of course there will be players coming in and out as always.
Let’s talk about Lille, it is fair to say that you have worked with the club a lot over the last few seasons. What are your thoughts on Lille President Michel Seydoux, a man who is perhaps not as talked about as other presidents, but perhaps one of the most successful at his job? Would you agree with that?
Yes, I 100% agree with that and also considering that we can even go ten years back and say that in the last ten years, look at what Lille have done in terms of players going out and coming in. I think we can say that Lille have been one of the best clubs at selling and developing players over the past ten years.
I think they are one of the important players on the French market. And that is in part thanks to Seydoux for giving the club this stability and a working environment one only ever benefits from.
Were you surprised to see Hervé Renard go so early on this season?
That is difficult for me to answer because I don’t really know what went on. In the end, I think the only thing that we can see that is clear to everyone that the results were not coming of course. We have to say that.
When Lille decided to part with him before Christmas they were more or less one point away from relegation. I think it was a decision made on bad results more than anything else because I think that people were quite happy with him and so were the players. The results were just not good enough.
It is good to see Sébastien Corchia getting some more media attention these days.
It was a decision that was very much thought about from Sébastien and my side because we decided to work together with a media adviser and it has done a lot of good things for Sébastien because he was not getting enough attention and enough coverage.
Which he deserves. I think it has done him a lot of good to come out and be a little bit more mediatized because I think he has certainly been one of the best performing players in Ligue 1 this season.
Do you think he will be disappointed not to make the French national team?
Yes I would like to think he would be disappointed. Purely based on his performances. I think it has been an amazing season for Sébastien. I think he is one of the best right-backs in Ligue 1 and I would like to think that he has done enough to be there but then again I am not the one who decides.
It looks like, unless there is a big change in public voting, that Sébastien Corchia will be named the Football News Ligue 1 Team of the Year at right-back…
Yes, and I also saw that he has made the Goal.com Ligue 1 Team of the Year, so he is getting the rewards that he deserves. It is really nice.
What does the future hold for a player like Sébastien Corchia?
When you play such a good season as Sébastien has played, of course I as his agent feel that there is much more interest around him and for him than there was last season. Of course you can see that he is a player doing well, but that does not mean that Sébastien will leave Lille at the end of the season.
Sébastien keeps saying it, because it is the truth: he is very happy at Lille. And he feels also that something is happening at Lille. They have done really, really well in the last 6 months and of course you don’t just leave a ship that is sailing in the right direction. It would have to be something extremely important coming in to be considered and then there is also Lille who have to be persuaded to let one of their best performers go.
So it is not really something that we are thinking about right now. But yes, there is a more common interest for Sébastien Corchia and that is because he has been doing well.
Let’s talk about Rony Lopes, a man who has had a bit of a mixed season. He joined AS Monaco in the summer only to then not receive any playing time before moving on loan to Lille, where he was finally performing the way we know he is capable of performing. Why didn’t things work at Monaco?
Honestly, you will have to ask Monaco about that. We signed with Monaco because we want to play for Monaco, otherwise we would not have signed for them. It is true that there is lots of competition for places there, especially in Rony’s position.
Of course, we were not happy with the amount of playing time that he was getting and that is also why we together with Monaco decided that it could not continue like this because he is too good not to play.
The decision to leave was made mutually with Monaco and us; we agreed that it was right to go to Lille for 6 months. Of course, you always want to play every game but he has played more with Lille than he was with Monaco in the first 6 months.
We also know that Rony was very short of match practice when he came to Lille in January, and it did take a little bit of time to get that back. Also, because of the type of player that Rony is, he plays a lot with power and speed and technique. I think in the last 3-4 weeks we have really seen the Rony Lopes of last season and that has been amazing. And I feel that he is now back to his best. And I think everyone can see that.
Is his aim to go back to Monaco now and be a success there next season?
Yes, of course. The idea is for us to go back to Monaco now. We still want to play for Monaco, that is why we signed for Monaco. Of course we hope that next season Rony will do enough to show the club and the coach that he is the one that should play. That is what we would like to think. We are very optimistic about next season.
Do you think that he has done enough for the Portugal squad?
I don’t know the Portuguese coach. If I was him, I would bring him because Rony for me is a special talent and you won’t find many of these types of players. So I think he could change any game for any team that he plays for, especially in the form that he is currently in.
Has he enjoyed working under Frédéric Antonetti?
Rony would have loved to have played a little bit more. He has taken on all the advice that Antonetti has given him and I think that what started in a bit of a difficult way looks like it is ending on a very positive note. You learn from all experiences in life. Of course Antonetti is different to René Girard who Rony worked with last season, but I know that Rony would say he learns from everything.
Let’s talk about another Ronny, Ronny Rodelin, possibly the most underrated player in Ligue 1 this season…
What a fairytale story. Last summer, Lille did not want to keep him coming back from a spell in Belgium with not one of the top teams and then go to Caen and have such an impact. For me, an absolute fairytale story and as you say maybe one of the most underrated performances of the season. To score 10 goals and set up two or three goals, it is amazing. I am really proud of the season he has had.
I really hope that he will continue that form next season, wherever he may be, at Caen or another club. He is on loan with an option to buy, Caen will have to decide if they will keep him.
Of course based on performances, Caen cannot let him go, but we know in football that finances also play a part. I am pretty optimistic about the situation. Ronny can see himself staying in a club where he has had a lot of success, where he is really comfortable and likes his coach and his teammates.
If it was not going to be Caen, a player like him after this season will absolutely have other teams who are interested in him.
Lucas Digne has had a very successful season on loan at AS Roma & has repeatedly stated his desire to stay there next season. Are you confident that that will be the case?
He has had an amazing season, probably the best of his career. He has really benefitted a lot from moving country, playing with new teammates, having new coaches and everything. It has been an amazing ride for him.
Yes, he would like to stay at AS Roma. We also know though that he is under contract with PSG so the two clubs have to find an agreement before Lucas can stay at AS Roma.
Can we expect a decision on Lucas Digne’s future to be made before or after the Euros?
Ideally we would like it to be done before the Euros, so then Lucas can focus 100% on the tournament.
Why do you think it is that he has disappointed a little this season for the French national team, compared to his excellent performances for AS Roma?
I think people have been extremely harsh on him after a couple of games. I can also remember great games for him with the national team this season. I think people forget about this.
We can say that in the last couple of games against Holland and Russia, he performed a little bit less than usual, but he has also had some good games. It happens to all footballers. I think you would agree with me when I say that in those two particular games, there were also other players who did not perform. They were less good days for the team in general.
I remember being in Denmark, where he played an unbelievable game. In general, I see this season as one of his best ever. Not only with Roma, but also with the national team.
What was your take on him ultimately being unable to dislodge Maxwell for a place in the starting XI at PSG, which lead to this AS Roma loan move?
I am a very big fan of Lucas Digne and I believe that he can play for most teams in the world. I also believe that he can play for PSG, but I am not the coach. At the end of the day, he decides the team.
So Lucas was not playing, so that is why we decided to leave. And now he is playing week in-week out with another big team at another big club. So it shows the level of Lucas as being one of the best left-backs in Europe.
Eder has had a very successful spell on loan at Lille from Swansea in the second half of this season. Can we expect to see Eder in a Lille shirt next season?
It is something that we are trying to look into of course because there is an interest on the side of Lille to keep him and there is an interest from Eder’s side in staying so it is something we are trying to work on.
The managerial situation at Swansea has changed since Eder left, with Francesco Guidolin now at the helm. Will that change Eder’s situation?
There is an interest from Lille in keeping Eder and Eder would like to stay at Lille because he feels like this is the right place for him. There are discussions ongoing. We are looking at it.
He is another man who is going to be at the very least close to Portugal’s EURO 2016 squad.
I think so. Hopefully he will make it, he deserves it. He has had a great 6 months at Lille, he has shown not only is he a great goalscorer but he has proved a capacity to set others up as well. I think in the form he is now, I am 100% sure that he can play a big part for Portugal in the Euros.
Can we expect this deal to be done before the Euros, should he be selected?
That is the idea, we are working on it.
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