The hot transfer prospects in a Ligue of their own

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Oft criticised as a one or two team league, France's top flight - and sometimes its second and third division - has proved a fertile breeding ground for football talent. 

This season is no different, with a bumper crop of young stars already being linked to a roll call of the world's best teams. 

Here is everything you need to know about the pick of the bunch.

Ousmane Dembele, Rennes

The Rennes wonder-kid who seems to have been linked with every major European club to have ever opened a chequebook. Operating on the right-hand side, he's fast, skilful, and can bury them in the net. 

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Ronaldo

The stat: Dembele's average 5.5 completed dribbles per 90 minutes puts him ahead of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Eden hazard and Loucas Moura.

Interested parties: Leicester, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich

Transfer latest: Amid the plethora of clubs linked to the 18 year-old, Dortmund has emerged as the early front-runner. The two parties reportedly agreed a deal recently, and Dembele 'liked' a mocked-up photo of himself in a Dortmund shirt that was posted on social media, only to hastily retract the action. Manchester United is said to be preparing a $53 million bid. 

Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon

Lacazette is a hard-working two-footed finisher not afraid to muck in in defence and retrieve the ball. He's tenacious, skilful and a proven finisher, if a little untested at international level. Perhaps a victim of France's glut of attacking stars, Lacazette can hold his own operating in a stacked forward line or as a lone striker. 

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Thierry Henry

Interested parties: Manchester United, Tottenham, Barcelona, Liverpool, West Ham

Transfer latest: Barcelona has denied interest in the player, but not West Ham, which is said to be upping its chase for the star. Lyon has reportedly welcomed the interest in him.

Hatem ben Arfa, Nice

Oft derided for an unhappy stint at Newcastle United, such has been Ben Arfa's revival at Nice, he's been linked with a move to Barcelona. Ben Arfa likes to take opponents on and his pinball-like dribbles through crowded opposition lines clutter Youtube highlight reels and conjure images of a notable Barca player. Ben Arfa can set plays up and is known to have them from distance.   

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Hatem ben Arfa

Interested parties: Barcelona, Lyon

Transfer latest: Ben Arfa has denied he recently met with Barcelona, the home of a player he is often compared to: Lionel Messi.

Michy Batshuayi, Marseille

Hot on the heels of Romelu Lukaku, Moussa Dembele, Christian Benteke off Belgian production line comes Batshuayi, whose accurate finishing and surprising strength for a player of his diminutive stature have drawn comparisons with Didier Drogba.

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Didier Drogba

Interested parties: Arsenal, Newcastle United, West Ham

Transfer latest: Having announced it has almost $100 million to spend on reinforcements, West Ham has been linked with every player to have taken a man on one-on-one. The latest is a raid for Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette and Christian Benteke.

Thomas Lemar, Monaco

Lemar's former team-mate, Alaeddine Yahia, described his left foot as like a hand: "It's amazing, he puts the ball where he wants." While small in stature, the teenager's range of passing, particularly with his left, has seen him replace Joao Moutinho as Monaco's free-kick specialist. He can split open defences, is a good dribbler, and has an eye for goal. Nominated for Ligue 1's young player of the year. 

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Andres Iniesta

Interested parties: Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City

Transfer latest: A number of British media outlets have reported an official approach from Liverpool, although Monaco is denying it will sell the player. 

Adam Ounas, Bordeaux

If anyone is set to benefit from Riyad Mahrez's stunning ascent in the Premier League this season, it's 19 year-old French-Algerian attacking midfielder Ounas, whose searing pace, poise on the ball and ability to create goals for his team-mates have drawn inevitable comparisons to the Leicester star. Unsurprisingly the big clubs are sniffing around him. 

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Riyad Mahrez

Interested parties: Manchester United

Transfer latest: In April the Metro reported that Manchester United has made an approach to Bordeaux about signing Ounas.

Sofiane Boufal, Lille

Attacking left-sided winger plays for Lille and likes to dribble past his opponent: cue the Eden Hazard comparisons. In Morroco star Boufal's case, they appear accurate. 

What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Eden Hazard

Interested parties: Tottenham hotspur, Internazionale

Transfer latest: In late April the player voted 'best African in Ligue 1' said he was weighing up his options.

Martin Braithwaite, Toulouse

A pacy forward who can play out wide, the Guyana-born Denmark international  has struggled for back-up in a well-beaten Toulouse outfit this season. His comparatively cheap $6 million price tag has made him an attractive target for mid-table Premier League clubs, and Leicester. 

 What all the fuss is about:

He could be the ‘new’: Marco Reus

The stat: Braithwaite spent time at the renowned FC Midtjylland academy. 

Interested parties: Leicester, Sunderland West Ham, Hull City, Crystal Palace

Transfer latest: Sunderland and West Ham were reported to be the front-runners for Braithwaite's signature.