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Rennes lost M'Vila, Montpellier lost Belhanda and Yanga-Mbiwa, Marseille lost Remy, Toulouse lost Sissoko, Lyon lost Bastos. Bordeaux lost Gouffran. All those players have been starters for their clubs.
One of the main reasons is without a doubt the fact that clubs are poor as fuck. Only PSG doesn't have to worry about money. Even Lyon has had to cut their budgets by selling/loaning out players.
It is especially difficult for the "surprise teams". Lille and Montpellier who had their share of European football after success in Ligue have handed their players some pay raise, after not being able to repeat their success, their budgets start ripping, they have to sell players to earn back money, doing that their performance suffers even more, resulting less crowd on the stands and reduced sponsor fees. Then it'll take years to build up the team again and after some success everything repeats itself.
Bastos was loaned out to Schalke but mostly players leave for the EPL. Mid and lower table teams in England know that teams accross the canal have to sell, add the fact that the EPL is the dream destination for a lot of players and bang! teams like QPR and Newcastle have their chance to buy internationals from top French clubs.
Woops, my mistake, Belhanda didn't leave this window but will probably not get much playing time for Montpellier either as he fell out with the board trying to force his way out of the club. The transfer to Fenerbahce was reported to be done in the French media at some point...
Yesterday PSG beat Toulouse 4-0. Really looks like they're running away with the title now, the only team that didn't get any weaker in Jan. Rennes will play Lorient today, that'll be interesting. My dear Marseille will probably fuck up against last place Nancy and Lyon plays Ajaccio.
If anyone, then Lyon. PSG ain't working togheter as a team very well, they're just using burte force and individual skills of their players (Zlatan, lol). Lacking consistency. Lyon managed to keep Gomis who was on Spurs' radar and they're doing well as a team. Sadly, I don't have much faith in Marseille anymore. They needed to add some depth to their squad, instead they lost Remy to QP-fucking-R, hopefuly it'll make holding onto Barton a bit easier.
Lorient vs Rennes ended in a 2-2 draw, was an awesome match, I'll post the highlights here as soon as they post it on L1's YouTube channel.
Yeah Remy wasn't his usual self, was still hoping he'd turn out again, though. Gignac had a great start to the season but got injured. Jordan Ayew has been in good form recently. Can't imagine how it would've been with Ayew's going to Nations Cup.