French Ligue One: Lille and Lens making changes; Lyon hunts down a striker

LILLE: Signed Pierre-Alain Frau from Paris St-Germain to a 3 and 1/2 year deal. Frau – formerly of Lyon, Sochaux, and Lens – cited a starting role as his reason for moving. Lille is a good place to be Frau as they are a good team, under-performing at the moment (17th) but with a young core to move along with.

LENS: It is also a striker for Racing Lens who sit third from the bottom. They opted for Toifilou Maoulida of Auxerre as they look to turn around a season in which many never had, but now do, characterize them as ‘strugglers’. The deal is also for three-and-a-half years.

BORDEAUX: Les Girondins have off-loaded Colombian Edixon Perea to Gremio in Brazil. Perea had high expectations of him coming over, but the success of Fernando Cavenaghi and his subsequent relegation to the bench kept him from ever achieving his potential. Gremio paid $1.25 million for the striker. Perea is 23, however, and talented enough to make a concerted effort at a comeback.

NEW COACHES: Grenoble boss Yvon Pouliquen has taken over the reins at FC Metz following the recent departure of Francis de Taddeo, this past Sunday. Metz sits at the bottom of Ligue One with one win in 14 matches. Sochaux who isn’t in much better of a position (second to last) will rely on the services of former Lens coach Francis Gillot to pull them out of the gutter. Sochaux has been without a coach since early December.

LYON: Brazilian striker Fred Chaves could be set to leave during this transfer window as he has been kept to only three appearances so far this season. Fred says he’s happy to stay and fight for his chances at least until his contract runs out in 2009, but that he won’t do that if it hurts his chances to play for Brazil (which it has). Both PSG and Fluminense of Brazil want the young striker and the decision gets even easier for Lyon officials with the possibility of a fantastic signing in Cesar ‘Chelito’ Delgado from Cruz Azul. Delgado averages over 20 goals a year in the Mexican leagues, but his move hasn’t been confirmed as of January 2nd.

ROUND-UP: At the half-way mark, Lyon sits in front with only a 4 point lead over upstarts Nancy. Some other surprises mark the top five – Caen and Le Mans the two that jump out to many. Bordeaux – though inconsistent – are capable of making a run at Lyon as they sit only 6 points out in third place, but it is Nancy who boasts the best defensive record in the league holding opponents to only 11  goals in 19 matches. Former Manchester United man David Bellion is the key figure for Bordeaux as he tries to match Lyon’s youngster Karim Benzema goal-for-goal. Benzema has 12, Bellion has 10.  

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