The French top division is full of talented young players.
The French first division, Ligue 1, houses some of the best young players in Europe. Every season, teams across Europe look towards France and attempt to sign a plethora of exciting young talents for their teams.
Expectedly, these young players get regular game time at the top level and result in a lot of clubs employing some of the youngest squads in the continent. Moreover, this helps the French football association in identifying exceptional players early, which has been central to their international success.
Therefore, this presents a perfect opportunity to shift focus towards five of the youngest squads in Ligue 1. Sourced from the data accumulated by CIES Football Observatory, here are the top-five youngest squads, employed in the 2020-21 season of the French top division.
5. Olympique Lyonnais – 25.6 years
Olympique Lyonnais are one of France’s most successful clubs. They have won the league a total of seven times but have found it tough to challenge Paris Saint-Germain’s recent domination. Having said that, the club is in a transitional phase with an eye towards building a team for the future.
OL would like to repeat their UEFA Champions League exploits of last year where they reached the semi-finals but it will certainly be tough with an average age of 25.6 years. Their young squad has the likes of Houssem Aouar (22), Rayan Cherki (17), Moussa Dembélé (24) and Lucas Paquetá (23).
4. OGC Nice – 25.3 years
OGC Nice are four-time league winners and have been improving every year in the past few seasons. They finished in fifth place last season and missed out on a European spot marginally. With an average age of 25.3 years, fourth youngest in the country, the club will look to go one step better now.
Nice has a very talented young squad that will aim to improve on last season’s performance spearheaded by the likes of, Youcef Atal (24), Jeff Reine-Adélaïde (22), and Kasper Dolberg (23).
3. Stade Brestois – 25.2 years
One of the minnows in the French Ligue 1, Stade Brestois earned promotion to the first division two years ago and finished in 14th place last term. The club has one of the youngest squads in the country at 25.2 years and will be up against the looming danger of relegation yet again.
The onus of avoiding relegation will be on several of their young players. Some of the notable mentions in their team are Gautier Larsonneur (23), Irvin Cardona (23), and Heriberto Tavares (23).
2. Stade de Reims and AS St-Etienne – 24.8 years
The two teams that have the second youngest squads in terms of average age in 2020-21 are Stade de Reims and AS St-Etienne. The two teams had very contrasting campaigns in 2019-20, as Stade de Reims over-achieved by finishing sixth while AS St-Etienne massively underperformed by finishing 17th, barely avoiding relegation.
Both teams have fielded squads with an average age of 24.8 years in the current term. While one will hope to re-enact last year’s performance, the other will be hoping to avoid it.
Looking at their squads, some of the best young players that Stade de Reims has are, Mathieu Cafaro (23), El Bilal Touré (19) and Boulaye Dia (24) while 10-time league winners AS St-Etienne will rely on players like, Zaydou Youssouf (21), Charles Abi (20) and Arnaud Nordin (22).
1. AS Monaco – 24.7 years
Eight-time league winners AS Monaco have traditionally been known to produce some of the best young players not just in France but all across Europe. This time around as well, Niko Kovac’s team is the youngest squad in Ligue 1 and it will be interesting to see if the squad averaging at 24.7 years will be able to improve on the ninth place finish last year.
AS Monaco’s incredibly talented young players have attracted eyes from the biggest clubs around. Some of the players that one needs to watch out for from their squad are Benoît Badiashile (19), Axel Disasi (22) and Aleksandr Golovin (24).