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World Soccer: Is the EPL or Ligue 1 the best move for Loic Remy?

According to L’Equipe in France, Nice striker Loic Remy will be making his decision on where he will be spending his footballing career.

While we have heard rumors from a number of teams in the last few months, it now looks like a transfer to the British Isles are in the cards for the on-and-off French international striker.

In the last few days, there was talk about him moving to a number of Ligue 1 teams. First in the news was talk about him moving to Bordeaux. In fact, Remy said as late as last week that he would prefer a move to Bordeaux over other teams that were mentioned at the time. In addition to Bordeaux, there was also talk that he might go back Lyon, where he started off as a youth player at the age of 11.

Rennes has also been considered as a possible new home for Remy as well, being a possible replacement for Jimmy Briand or if Asamoah Gyan leaves for another team.

But in the last 24 hours, attention has seemed to move from the France to England, where three teams seem to be in the running for the Nice striker.

The first team that has been mentioned is West Ham. Again, as an ongoing joke on this website, we always say that every French player and their mothers are linked to West Ham. Up to date, it is hard to take any possible transfer of any star striker from France to West Ham seriously. So we will put it on the back burner for now.

In an article that L’Equipe wrote today, Remy said that the decision was between two clubs. Again, he did not mention any French clubs, but two English clubs instead. First, and his overall preference, was Liverpool. His second preference was Tottenham Hotspur.

The idea of watching Loic Remy moving to Tottenham and taking on Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls in the coming weeks would be great. Still, which move is the best for Remy?

Remy is at a very important point in his football career. At 23 years old, he is at the point where he needs to decide if he wants to be an international superstar or just be a “good player”. As much as it pains me to say it, we have seen players throughout Ligue 1 history that could have been on the French National Team, but because they stayed with stagnate Ligue 1 teams (and teams abroad), their international careers never took off. Jerome Leroy, Stephane Dalmat and Mickael Landreau are great examples of players that let their international careers pass them by. While some of these players might have played for some decent teams, they weren’t exactly decent when they played for those teams.

Loic Remy has to make sure that he doesn’t fall into this trap, which he easily could if he makes the wrong moves. Therefore, lets look at the teams that Remy could move to and the possibilities that he would have with each of those teams.

<strong>Bordeaux – </strong>As we know, Remy would easily be the replacement for Marouane Chamakh as their star striker. While Bordeaux have lost the services of Chamahk and, as it looks like right now, Alou Diarra, they still have a decent team that could easily qualify for the Champions League in the future. And since people on the international scale are starting to notice Bordeaux more and more, a move to Les Girondins might make sense.

The only problem is the stability of this team and their management. If Bordeaux doesn’t qualify for the Champions League (which is just as easy for them to do as qualifying), who will leave the team next? Will Gourcuff leave (if he doesn’t leave this year), does Benoit Tremoulinas leave? Now you are talking about a team without Diarra, Gourcuff and Tremoulinas. Therefore, no real midfielders or wing back (with the exception of Mathieu Chalme) to support Remy. And the way that Jean-Louis Triaud runs his business, Remy cannot be reliant on a team that is so unpredictable.

Therefore, a move to Bordeaux has positives, but negatives as well.

<strong>Lyon – </strong>Part of becoming the international superstar that I mentioned earlier is being part of the team on a regular basis. And, honestly, do you see that happening at Lyon?

Lyon has Lisandro Lopez, Jimmy Briand and Bafe Gomis. And with Briand being Sidney Govou’s replacement, Remy would have to compete with Gomis for the #1 substitute spot. Is it worth it for Remy to move to Lyon if he is on the bench for half of the matches? A move to Lyon would make no sense whatsoever! Therefore, there are no positives in regards to a “Remy to Lyon” move.

<strong>Rennes – </strong>Most Americans might know Rennes because the US captain, Carlos Bocanegra, plays for them. But just because one American plays for the team doesn’t mean the team is good.

So far in this transfer season, Rennes have done a pretty decent job. While they did lose Petter Hansson to Monaco, they have acquired Onyekachi Apam from Nice and Victor Montano from Montpellier. In addition, they still have Asamoah Gyan, Nicolas Douchez and a number of good players surrounding him.

But is this a team that would qualify for the Champions League? Even with a decent core of players, they finished 9th this season (which was quite a shock, actually). And while Remy would be a replacement for the departing Jimmy Briand (assuming that he would get the nod over Montano), that doesn’t ensure that Rennes would see any success in qualifying for Europe.

Finally, just as the case in Bordeaux, we have a group of talented players that might want to leave Rennes if they do not quality for, at least, an Europa League sport. And if Remy signs a long-term contract, three years from now, he might be stuck on a team where he is the only quality players on the team, like the current situation at Nice.

<strong>Tottenham Hotspur – </strong>When I think Harry Redknapp, I think pure English football. Wherever he goes, he manages an English style of football with a ton of English players. Even Mexican international Giovani dos Santos has spent more time at Tottenham on loan than he has actually playing at White Hart Lane. Therefore, would a high-flying Frenchman be able to fit into his system of play?

The positive thing is that Tottenham will be able to qualify via playoff for the Champions League. But would Remy be part of the system? With Peter Crouch being one of Redknapp’s favorites and dos Santos returning from his loan in Turkey, could Remy even be part of the team. Granted, he would have a better chance at playing than he does at Lyon, but he would have to fight for a spot nonetheless.

As far as “covering all the bases”, Tottenham would be a good choice for him. He will, more than likely, play in the Champions League and get the international exposure he would need to propel his career. Still, would he be the starter over Crouch or dos Santos? That is the big question.

<strong>West Ham – </strong>Next

<strong>Liverpool – </strong>Many English managers have problems with adapting to managing outside of England, which is why many of them don’t even leave England. But Roy Hodgson is the exception. Malmo in Finland, the Swiss National Team, Inter, Fulham Copenhagen, etc…Hodgson is actually an English manager that has seen the international game. Therefore, coaching an international player will suit him well.

As with the case in Tottenham, Remy would have some stiff competition. Fernando Torres and fellow Frenchman David N’Gog would be his hardest competition. In fact, it would be easier for him to play for Tottenham than with Liverpool.

But if he does move to Liverpool, there will be a number of positives. First, stability. While Liverpool is starting to become a team known for its instability, I feel that finishing 7th place in the EPL last year has woken up George Gillett and Tom Hicks (Liverpool’s owners). Bringing in Roy Hodgson seems to be a move in a positive direction. With that move, it seems like they want to make Liverpool a European superpower once again.

Second, because of the poor performance of Liverpool last year, Remy might have a little more room to maneuver around for better pay, more play and so on. Liverpool’s poor performance last year might be a positive for Remy this year.

Third, he would be playing for Liverpool. We talked about Peter Crouch earlier in this article. While he was a starter for the English National Team during the 2006 World Cup, he wasn’t even a starter for his club team, which was Liverpool. This shows that even being a bench player on Liverpool is a very powerful thing.

Fourth, being a member of Liverpool will give Remy all of the TV time he needs to get international exposure. And since Laurent Blanc won’t be managing a Ligue 1 team week after week, he can start paying more attention to EPL players as well. And since Blanc has already seen Remy play a number of times, his success in the EPL might give Remy a huge boost.

So yes, as much of an EPL basher that I am, and as much as I cannot stand Liverpool, I feel that Loic Remy’s best move is to Liverpool. It just makes the most sense.

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