Islam Slimani (Lyon)
Signed from: Leicester City
Country: Algeria (68 caps/29 goals)
Watch: Slimani’s star-turn for Monaco last season
A familiar face for those who follow the French top-flight, Slimani is back in Ligue 1 Uber Eats following his nine goals in 18 games with AS Monaco last term, only this time it’s on a permanent basis.
Surprise English Premier League winners in 2016, Leicester have owned the Algeria striker’s papers since that summer, but he spent the last three campaigns on loan at Newcastle United, Fenerbahce and, latterly, in the principality.
An imposing 6’2″-tall forward who is just as happy making chances as taking them at the point of an attack, Slimani is a direct replacement for Moussa Dembélé, who has left for a loan of his own with Atletico Madrid.
William Saliba (Nice)
Signed from: Arsenal
Country: France (U20 cap)
Slimani may already have the pedigree but Saliba could prove to be the most influential acquisition of any club this winter, the AS Saint-Étienne youth product returning to France on loan from Arsenal.
Back on loan at Sainté last season, injuries blighted much of Saliba’s campaign, but his pace, power and reading of the game were there for all to see when he did play, and Arsenal handed him the fabled No.4 jersey once worn by Patrick Vieira before letting him leave on loan again.
Vieira is no longer coach at Nice, having been replaced by Adrian Ursea in December, but Dante’s torn ACL makes for a bigger absence at the heart of les Aiglons’ side, and that is exactly why Saliba has been acquired. Emulate the Brazilian defender and he could be the coup of the window.
Pol Lirola (Marseille)
Signed from: Fiorentina
Country: Spain (U21 cap)
Barcelona-born, Lirola is a Juventus academy graduate who has spent the last four seasons with Sassuolo and Fiorentina, helping fire the former into the UEFA Europa League group stages for the first time in the club’s history in 2016/17.
A marauding right-back with 23 career assists to his name, Lirola will compete with Hiroki Sakai on the right of OM’s back-four, providing some much-needed attacking verve in the position following Bouna Sarr’s transfer to Bayern Munich in October.
Naomichi Ueda (Nîmes)
Signed from: Cercle Brugge
Country: Japan (13 caps/1 goal)
A one-time Taekwondo practitioner like Paris Saint-Germain legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ueda also used to play in attack. But unlike the mercurial Swede, Ueda has long since turned to stopping attacks rather than instigating them, with nearly 200 career games under his belt at centre-back.
A long-time Kashima Antlers player in his native Japan, Ueda joins Nîmes on loan from Belgian side Cercle Brugge with an option to buy. If he can help them continue their ascent away from the foot of the table, expect les Crocos to bite come the end of the campaign.
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