Didier Drogba will stand to become President of the Ivorian FA

L’Équipe report that 41-year-old ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has announced today in a visit to the Ivorian capital of Abidjan that is standing to become the President of the Ivorian Football Association.

Drogba, who retired from professional football as a playing career on 9th November 2018, will challenge to replace outgoing president Augustin Sidy Diallo, with whom the ex-Marseille man has a very difficult relationship.

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Eden Hazard on being overweight: “It is true. I am not going to hide it.”

Speaking in an interview with L’Équipe, Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard discussed his weight.

“It is true. I am not going to hide it. Me, when I am on holiday, I am on holiday. Otherwise, I am never on holiday. I put on 5kg. I am the sort of guy who takes on weight quickly but also loses it quickly if I focus. When I was 18, at Lille, I was 72kg or 73kg. Aside from that, after taking on muscle mass, I was 75kg. On a bad day, 77kg. It rose to 80kg this summer. I lost all of that in 10 days.”

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AS Monaco in contract extension talks with Benoît Badiashile

RMC report that AS Monaco have opened contract extension negotiations with teenage French central defender Benoît Badiashile.

The 18-year-old’s current deal runs until 2021, and the Principality side are seeking to extend that by a further year.

ASM know the importance of this particular negotiation, at the age of 18, he is a member of their starting XI in Ligue 1 and they already rejected multiple offers from the Premier League for him in summer.

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Ousmane Dembélé’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, cleared of wrongdoing in investigation into illegal actions

L’Équipe report that Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé’s agent Moussa Sissoko has been cleared by a court in Rennes following an investigation into whether or not he had committed illegal acts in the 2017 transfer of his player from Ligue 1 side SRFC to Borussia Dortmund.

More than two years ago, in the spring of 2017, the FFF filed a report to the public prosecutor under Article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: “Any constituted authority, any public officer or civil servant who, in the exercise of his functions, acquires knowledge of a crime or offence shall give prompt notice to the public prosecutor and to transmit to this magistrate all information, minutes and acts relating thereto.”

In this specific case, the FFF legal commission was after Moussa Sissoko, the current adviser to Ousmane Dembélé, for illegally acting as a sports agent in connection with the transfer of the Rennes attacker to Dortmund in 2017. Sissoko, who is listed to the English FA as an intermediary, does not have a FFF licence, which allows agents to work and discuss freely with French players or clubs, and to be paid directly in the French territory. As a result, without the FFF licence, any agent who wants to work in France must do so alongside an FFF agent or a lawyer.

Entrusted to the Interregional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Rennes, the investigation is now complete. And it will not lead to any indictment. The Rennes public prosecutor’s office decided this way, dismissing the case that the FFF and the agents’ union were following very closely.

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Lyon determined to get straight answer from Thomas Lemar; President Aulas downplays it all

L’Équipe report that Ligue 1 side Lyon have not entirely given up on attracting 24-year-old French international attacking midfielder back to the French 1st division for next month.

Although any deal appears to be highly complicated for the World Cup winner, on Wednesday morning there were more discussions between Lyon and Atletico Madrid. After the Spanish side initially appeared open to a loan with obligation to buy, the have since hardened their stance and declared that they would only agree to a straight transfer worth at least €72m.

Alongside this news, the father of the ex-Caen player declared his son’s desire to stay at Atletico Madrid, despite the great difficulty he is having in playing well. But Lemar’s real intentions are a little more complicated than that and Lyon have been getting mixed signals about the player’s true desires. As a result, they intend not to fully abandon this possible deal yet.

Speaking to reporters after last night’s Coupe de la Ligue victory over Toulouse, Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas was blunt in his assessment of the chances of doing a deal for Lemar:

“We should not dream about it. Thomas has said he will not quit Atletico Madrid.”

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Le Mans & Orléans want Reims attacking midfielder Ilan Kebbal

Our colleagues at MaLigue2 report that Ligue 2 duo Le Mans and Orléans would like to have further conversations with Ligue 1 club Stade de Reims about a possible loan deal for 21-year-old attacking midfielder Ilan Kebbal.

Kebbal, who last season was playing in the French 5th division with FC Côte-Bleue, signed a professional deal with Reims this summer. The left-footed player is currently plying his trade in the 4th division this season with SDR’s reserve side and is open to a move to Ligue 2 for more professional playing time.

Alongside Le Mans and Orléans, a number of 3rd division clubs also want him.

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Lyon will meet with Memphis Depay to begin contract extension negotiations

L’Équipe report that Ligue 1 side Lyon will shortly meet with their star player Memphis Depay to begin contract extension negotiations with him, just days after he ruptured his ACL in a league-season ending injury.

Lyon President Aulas will not let this reality get in the way of him locking down their key player this season, whose current deal expires in 2021. JMA likes to show the players that mean the most to him their value, especially in times of personal struggle.

He famously extended the contract of Claudio Caçapa in January 2005 when the player suffered a similarly bad knee injury.

Aulas and Memphis have a unique relationship. The former likes Depay’s talent and he has a soft spot for his personality. The Dutchman in return knows what Lyon as a club have done for him, picking him back up again for €16m when he was at his lowest after a failed move to Manchester United.

Even during testing moments, when Depay was letting his fiery personality get the better of him or was on a bad run of form, Aulas has always stood by his side. This was not the case of the Manchester United board when the Dutchman was with the Red Devils.

Thanks to Depay, OL are through to the Champions’ League Round of 16, with the player scoring 5 goals in 5 matches. Since Nabil Fékir’s departure to Real Betis, Depay is the undisputed key man, with Rudi Garcia confirming this to the rest of the world by recently making the ex-PSV player club captain.

For Depay, a contract extension would be a safety net. The truth is that nobody knows whether they will play to the same level again after an ACL injury. It would give him the security. At the moment, both parties agree on the principle that this situation needs sorting out, one way or another.

However, the early signs are promising for Lyon in their desire to extend Depay’s contract – both have the same idea in mind. Depay, who had initially wanted to leave at the end of this season, would stay for another 12 months with a likely slightly improved salary and the chance to prove to the rest of European football that his ACL injury is not career-path altering. Lyon would get to keep a star player for another campaign and ensure that they don’t lose him for nothing the following summer. The question of salary may take some time, but unfortunately Depay and his representatives have a lot of that right now…

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AS Monaco make bid for Ishak Boussouf (ES Sétif)

France Football report that Ligue 1 side AS Monaco have made a formal bid to sign 18-year-old attacking midfielder Ishak Boussouf from ES Sétif.

The Algerian U20 international is under a youth contract with Sétif until the end of this season. Rennes have made an attempt to sign the player last month, although no agreement has yet been reached, and now Monaco are trying their luck.

Sporting Portugal are also in active discussions with the player.

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Bryan Dabo (Fiorentina) set to return to Ligue 1; Toulouse, Nantes & Brest want him

France Football report that 27-year-old versatile midfielder and right-back Bryan Dabo is set to leave Fiorentina next month and Ligue 1 appears to be a prime destination.

The Burkina Faso international is under contract until 2021 with La Viola but has not played once for them this season.

Nantes and Brest have emerged as possible destinations, with talks believed to be currently ongoing.

Toulouse are also interested in signing the ex-Montpellier man, according to freelance journalist Ignazio Genuardi.

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Lyon have begun negotiations with Villarreal for Karl Toko Ekambi

L’Équipe report this morning that Ligue 1 side Lyon, in their quest to sign an attacker to fill the gaps left by the ACL injuries to Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, have begun negotiations with Villarreal over the possible signing of Cameroonian international attacker Karl Toko-Ekambi.

OL like his profile because of his ability to play across the attacking positions and Head of Scouting Florian Maurice has been watching the player closely for the last 18 months. This time though, the Lyon board has decided to take concrete action and has entered into discussions with their Spanish colleagues.

Villarreal are not entirely closed off to the idea of doing a deal – however, Lyon’s desire way of achieving this, through a loan with an option to buy, is not expected to go down well with the La Liga club’s board.

Sources with knowledge of the talks suggest that Villarreal want a permanent deal that sees them receive a fee greater than€20m.

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OL will have to decide if they think that Toko Ekambi is worth it.