Doria joins Marseille and N’Gog goes to Reims
PARIS (AP) — On a quiet day of transfers in the French league, the main news was who left rather than who joined, with Colombia striker Radamel Falcao leaving Monaco after just one season to sign a loan deal with Manchester United.
Having already sold another Colombian — James Rodriguez, the World Cup’s top scorer, to Real Madrid — Monaco’s chances of stopping big-spending Paris Saint-Germain from winning a third straight title already look slim. PSG made its only major signing early in the season when Brazil’s David Luiz, who can play in central midfield and defense, joined from Chelsea in a deal worth €50 million ($65.6 million).
Marseille, however, congratulated itself for “one of the best” moves of the transfer window when it signed 19-year-old Brazilian defender Doria on a five-year contract from Botafogo, describing him as one of “the big hopes” of Brazilian football.
He made his Botafogo debut against Coritibia at the age of 17 and Marseille said it beat several European clubs, including Porto, to his signature.
Marseille also managed to keep hold of Ghana winger Andre Ayew, whose prospective move to join Queens Park Rangers fell through, Marseille president Vincent Labrune told RMC radio.
Having sold forward Salomon Kalou to Hertha Berlin, Lille replaced him with 20-year-old Swiss striker Michael Frey from Young Boys on a four-year deal. Lille said it paid around 3 million euros ($4 million) for Frey, roughly the same amount it received for Kalou.
Lille considered a move for Besiktas forward Hugo Almeida, but pulled out because his wage demands were too high.
Former PSG midfielder Claude Makelele, who is now coach of Corscian side Bastia, doubtless pulled some strings with his old club to bring 19-year-old attacking midfielder Hervin Ongenda on loan from PSG. Bastia also signed striker Benjamin Mokolu on loan from Belgian club Malines.
Rennes signed Central African Republic striker Habib Habibou from Belgian side Gent, while struggling first division side Reims boosted its forward line by signing former Liverpool striker David N’Gog from Premier League club Swansea.
The 25-year-old N’Gog, who formerly played for Paris Saint-Germain, scored nine goals in 63 Premier League appearances for Liverpool before leaving to join Bolton and then Swansea, where he failed to make an impact.
Reims, which is in 19th place and has failed to win a game after four rounds of matches so far, also took French defender Valentin Roberge on loan from Premier League Sunderland.
Former France and Monaco defender Gael Givet signed for Evian on a two-year deal from second division Arles-Avignon, while defender Francois Bellugou joined Lorient from second-division Nancy on a four-year deal.
One Chelsea player did make the move to France, but it was hardly as a coup as goalkeeper Matej Delac joined Arles-Avignon on loan.
Newly-promoted Lens even went as far as releasing a statement a few hours before the end of the transfer window merely to say there would be no signings as hoped, due to a lack of available funds.
Saint-Etienne, meanwhile, backed out of a move for winger Morgan Amalfitano because of his high wage demands, Saint-Etienne’s co-president Bernard Caiazzo said.