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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Six to watch in Le Championnat
By Martin Richardson

The French league kicks off with the chasing pack aiming to deny Lyon a fourth straight title.

BBC Sport takes a look at the six summer signings set to shape the season to come.

Peguy Luyindula: Lyon to Marseille, £7.5m

Peguy Luyindula
Luyindula's move away from Lyon came as a surprise

Marseille caused a sensation just a week before the start of the season by swooping for Lyon striker Peguy Luyindula as a replacement for Chelsea-bound Didier Drogba.

Luyindula has won the French title for the last three seasons and was the champions' top-scorer with 16 in the last campaign.

A skilful, pacy striker Luyindula will be expected to be the main goalscorer for the Uefa Cup finalists, playing alongside Steve Marlet.

After winning two French caps in the run up to Euro 2004, Luyindula will be looking to establish himself as the top forward in France's domestic league.

Benoit Pedretti: Sochaux to Marseille, £4.5m

Marseille have been one of the biggest spenders over the summer and have recruited the star of Sochaux's League Cup winning side, Benoit Pedretti.

In: Habib Bamogo, Fabien Barthez, Bruno Cheyrou (loan), Eduardo Costa, Frederic Dehu, Demetrius Ferreira, Koke, Bixente Lizarazu, Peguy Luyindula, Leypi N'Diaye, Benoit Pedretti
Out: Alain Cantareil, Cyril Chapuis (loan), Daniel Van Buyten, Didier Drogba, Fabio Celestini, Fernandao, Manuel Dos Santos , Mathieu Flamini, Pascal Johansen (loan), Rudolf Skacel (loan), Stepan Vachousek (loan), Tuzzio, Vedran Runje (loan)

His scheming in the centre of midfield has been the secret behind unfashionable Sochaux's impressive form in the French league in the last two seasons, twice finishing fifth.

An all-action midfielder, Pedretti is tipped to soon force his way past Claude Makelele and Olivier Dacourt into the French national team.

He didn't get the chance to impress at Euro 2004 but his move to the south coast should catapult him into the spotlight.

Jerome Rothen: Monaco to PSG, £6.6m

Jerome Rothen
In: Danijel Ljuboja, Jean-Hugues Ateba, Jérôme Rothen, José Pierre-Fanfan, Marino Helder, Mario Yepes, Stéphane Pichot, Sylvain Armand, Vedad Ibisevic
Out: Alioune Touré (loan), Chingui Lucau , Didier Domi, Franck Djadjedje (loan), Frédéric Déhu, Gabriel Heinze, Hugo Leal, Jean-Martial Kipré, Lionel Potillon, Romain Rocchi, Talal El-Karkouri

Another player given little opportunity to make an impact in France's truncated Euro 2004 campaign, Rothen earned a move to PSG thanks to his performances in Monaco's run to the Champions League final.

A genuine left-winger, 26-year-old Rothen is a product of the Clairefontaine academy where he grew up alongside Thierry Henry and William Gallas.

He has been brought in by PSG to add quality on the flank and provide the crosses for Portuguese striker Pauleta as they look to build on last season's second-place finish.

Mohammed Kallon: Inter Milan to Monaco, £3.1m

Monaco boss Didier Deschamps has lost three of the strikers who took his side to the Champions League final - Fernando Morientes, Dado Prso, and Ludovic Giuly - and has plundered Serie A for replacements.

In: Diego Perez, Ernesto Javier Chevanton, Fabien Audard (loan), François Modesto, Maicon, Mohamed Kallon, Seyi Olofinjana
Out: Dado Prso, Djibril Sidibe (loan), Eric Cubilier, Jérôme Rothen, Laurent Lanteri (loan), Ludovic Giuly, Marco Ramos (loan), Mohellebi , Nicolas Hislen (loan), Pierre-fanfan, Plestan, Raynier, Sébastien Carole (loan), Sébastien Grax (loan), Stéphane Porato, Tony Sylva

Mohammed Kallon arrives from Inter Milan after slipping steadily down the pecking order at the San Siro.

The Sierra Leone international also had to serve a six-month suspension for testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

The 24-year-old hopes to rebuild a career which started very brightly at Inter alongside fellow new signing Javier Chevanton from Lecce.

Eric Carriere: Lyon to Lens, £2m

Eric Carriere
In: Alou Diarra (loan), Daniel Cousin, Eric Carrière, Eric Cubilier (loan), Jérôme Leroy, Nicolas Gillet, Vitorino Hilton
Out: Abdoulaye Diagne-Faye (loan), Pape Bouba Diop, Cyril Rool, Daniel Moreira, Eric Sikora, Furtado (loan), Guillaume Cherreau, Rigobert Song, Rod Fanni (loan), Wagneau Eloi, Zoumana Camara

Lens may have pulled off the coup of the summer by snapping up 31-year-old attacking midfielder Eric Carriere from Lyon.

Carriere has won a championship medal in each of the last four seasons, first with Nantes where he was named French footballer of the year in 2001 and then a hat-trick of titles at Lyon.

An attacking midfielder, Carriere's international career has suffered only because he has been in direct competition with Zinedine Zidane for a starting spot.

After spending more time on the bench than he would have liked last season, Carriere was lured by the promise of the captaincy at Lens and the chance to lift the club into a European place.

Eric Abidal: Lille to Lyon, £6.6m

Former Monaco defender Eric Abidal is the man supposed to restore optimism of a fourth straight French league title for Lyon after a string of high profile departures.

In: Eric Abidal, Pierre-Alain Frau, Yohann Hartock
Out: Alexandre Hauw (loan), Christophe Delmotte, D.Touré (loan), Edmilson, Eric Carrière, Eric Deflandre, François Clerc (loan), Frédéric Ribeiro, Marty, Patrick Müller, Peguy Luyindula, Rémy Vercoutre (loan), Vikash Dhorasoo

Abidal is joining his home town club as Carriere, Luyindula, Vikash Dhorasoo and Edmilson head for the exit.

The 25-year-old is one of a number of promising defenders in the French league and was dubbed 'the new Thuram' after last season's impressive performances.

He will add defensive steel and the new challenge of the Champions League could prove his making on the European stage.





Six to watch in Serie A
26 Aug 04  |  Europe
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Six to watch in the Primera Liga
26 Aug 04  |  Europe

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