5 young guns to watch in Ligue 1 this season

AFP

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Ligue 1's seemingly endless production line of young talent is gearing up for the new season, and there are five rising stars the biggest clubs in Europe should be keeping tabs on.

1) William Saliba 

Saliba

William Saliba was flying under the radar at Saint Etienne, until Premier League powerhouse Arsenal splashed £27 million on the 18 year-old in the summer.  Saint Etienne fought hard to retain Saliba on loan this season, and the rangy defender will be determined to justify his hefty price tag this season. 

Saliba has featured for France from under 16's through to under20's and has been touted as a future star for the world champion.

2) Houssem Aouar

Houssem Aouar has already amassed 72 league games for Lyon, and the Frenchman still hasn't reached his 22nd birthday.

It didn't take long for Lyon to see Aouar's potential, giving the midfielder the iconic number eight jersey held by Juninho with four professional games under his belt.

Aouar's composure and attacking flare caught the eye of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who hailed the Lyon prodigy as 'incredible.' Aouar has already been linked with Liverpool and another big season in Ligue 1 will take the Frenchman's career to the next level.

3) Luiz Araujo

Veteran tactician Marcelo Bielsa showed his eye for talent when he plucked Luiz Araujo out of Brazil and brought him to Lille in 2017. Bielsa has since moved on, and Araujo has gone from strength-to-strength at Lille.

Araujo enjoyed a breakout season with Lille last year, helping the club to a second-placed finish in the league and UEFA Champions League qualification.

With the high-profile transfer of attacking partner-in-crime Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal, this season is Araujo's big chance to cement himself as the club's main man in attack.

4) Pietro Pellegri

It took Monaco €20 million to pry a 16 year-old Pietro Pellegri from Genoa in 2018, before Pellegri became the youngest Ligue 1 player in the club's history when he made his debut against Dijon, breaking the record previously held by Kylian Mbappe.

Injury has limited the Italian to just six league appearances to date for Monaco, but with a pre-season under his belt and the future of Radamel Falcao up in the air 2019-2020 could be Pellegri's time to shine.

5) Timothy Weah - Lille

Weah

Timothy Weah has taken the weight of expectation that comes with a famous football surname in his stride. The son of former Ballon d'Or winner George, Timothy has taken Ligue 1 by storm breaking through to the first team at PSG, before making a summer switch to last season's runner up Lille.

The United States international is set to be a key part of Christophe Galtier's plans this season as he prepares for life without Nicolas Pepe and Rafael Leao.