Squad boost will help Marseille push PSG for Ligue 1 crown

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Ligue 1 looks to be one of the more predictable title races across Europe following a campaign which saw PSG win by a clear 12 points with a goal difference of +46.

And with moneybags Monaco joining the party, many are predicting a two-horse race at best.

However, in the Ligue 1 ‘Betting without PSG’ market it is Marseille that represent the best value.

Monaco are the clear favourites at 1/2 after adding the likes of Radamel Falcao, Eric Abidal, James Rodríguez, João Moutinho and Jérémy Toulalan to the squad that cantered to promotion last year.

However, as PSG themselves will attest – and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have evidenced – deep pockets do not always equate to instant success.

While all three of these clubs have eventually gone on to turn a full bank account into fuller trophy cabinets it took a while for new players to gel and Monaco could face the same issues during their first attempt back in the top flight.

Marseille, however, at 9/2 showed last year that even on a tight budget they have what it takes to win France’s “other championship”.

If the club can hold on to standout players such as 18-goal forward André-Pierre Gignac, the promising Ayew brothers and Mathieu Valbunea then manager Elie Baup will be confident of at least maintaining second place.

Only Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard and Mesut Ozil can boast more assists in Europe than Valbuena over the past two years but this has not stooped Baup dipping into the transfer market.

The manager has been busy strengthening his squad this summer and while the €21.5m spent would barely pay for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s big toe, Marseille fans can be happy with the team enhancements.

Gilbert Imbula was named Player of Ligue 2 last year at Guingamp and while he may not be a first team regular the 20-year-old will provide competition for places and help add the depth that the squad was lacking last year.

One-time Arsenal target Benjamin Mendy has also been drafted in after impressing at Le Harve but it is Dimitri Payet – snared from rivals Lille – who should make the biggest impact.

The 26-year-old bagged 16 league goals from midfield last year and if he can link up with Valbeuna and dictate games then Marseille could dare to dream of success beyond second place.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.