Marcus Rashford is "really important" to Manchester United and the forward is very much in their plans amid reported transfer interest from Paris Saint-Germain, says Erik ten Hag.

The 24-year-old struggled during a tepid 2021-22 campaign at Old Trafford, losing his place in the England set-up and mustering just four goals in 25 league appearances.

Reports have since emerged that he could make a fresh start across the English Channel with Ligue 1 heavyweights PSG.

But speaking ahead of a trip to Brentford this weekend, Ten Hag insists he regards Rashford as a key member of his squad this term.

"He is really important," Ten Hag said. "You have seen from the first day I am here [that] I am really happy with him.

"I do not want to lose him. He is definitely in our plans at Manchester United."

Ten Hag also addressed Cristiano Ronaldo's involvement after the Portugal star was benched for their opening weekend loss to Brighton and Hove Albion.

The veteran forward missed much of pre-season amid reports he is seeking an exit to find Champions League football, though a lack of credible suitors may well have put the brakes on a move.

"He has had a good training week," the Dutchman added. "He has had two half games now. We will see tomorrow."

Defeat to Brighton represented a major blow to hopes Ten Hag will re-establish United as genuine contenders for the top four this term, but the former Ajax man is unworried by a slow start from his side.

"After every game, I analyse what went wrong and where we can improve, where we have to improve, and how we have to train," he added.

"We tell and show the players this too, to give them the solutions. We learnt a lot [from the first game] but it is normal when you start a season, every season in that part is the same.

"You have a new start, you make mistakes. Football is a game of mistakes, so we know we have to improve in many factors."

Paris Saint-Germain have been open about wanting three more new signings before the transfer window closes.

PSG head coach Christophe Galtier also explained that among those was the desire to bring in a forward.

The French champions have already sealed the services of Renato Sanches, Nordi Mukiele, Hugo Ekitike, Vitinha and Nuno Mendes during the off-season.

TOP STORY – PSG IN TALKS WITH MAN UTD'S RASHFORD

PSG have opened talks with Marcus Rashford's representatives about joining the Ligue 1 club from Manchester United, according to L'Equipe.

The England international striker is contracted with United until 2023, having signed a four-year deal in 2019 with the option to extend by a further year.

Sky Sports, however, claims that PSG are unlikely to follow up on their initial interest, having first enquired about Rashford last week.

ROUND-UP

Manchester City are targeting Atletico Madrid's Brazilian Renan Lodi as they look to add a new left-back, according to The Telegraph. City want to bolster their options in the position following Oleksandr Zinchenko's departure for Arsenal. City are also considering Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney, claims 90min.

– Foot Mercato reports that Italian champions Inter are looking at Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo as a possible replacement for Martin Skriniar, should he leave. Todibo also has interest from PSG and Chelsea . Inter have also been linked to Borussia Dortmund's Swiss defender Manuel Akanji along with Lazio veteran Francesco Acerbi.

– Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri is drawing interest from both Nottingham Forest and Atalanta, according to the Evening Standard. The 28-year-old left-back is being squeezed out at Stamford Bridge following Marc Cucurella's arrival.

Napoli and Argentina international forward Giovanni Simeone have reached a verbal agreement, reports Sky Sport Italia. Simeone is set to join Napoli on loan from Hellas Verona, but Sky Sport Italia claims Juventus are prepared to poach him at the last minute.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Arnaud Kalimuendo has joined Rennes in a reported €25million transfer, penning a five-year deal with the Ligue 1 side.

Kalimuendo, a France Under-21 international who signed his first professional contract with PSG as a 17-year-old in 2019, had been strongly linked with Premier League side Leeds United after they missed out on Belgian forward Charles De Ketelaere to Milan.

The pacey forward has spent each of the last two seasons on loan at Lens, scoring 12 league goals in the 2021-22 campaign as they recorded an impressive seventh-placed finish.

Only nine players, including PSG stars Kylian Mbappe (28) and Neymar (13), outscored Kalimuendo last term, earning the 20-year-old a big-money move to Europa League qualifiers Rennes.

PSG boss Christophe Galtier had confirmed Kalimuendo's move was imminent earlier on Thursday, while Mauro Icardi is also expected to leave the Parc des Princes to make room for another attacking recruit.

Rennes lost their Ligue 1 opener to Lorient last Sunday and face a trip to Monaco in their second game of the campaign on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier expressed his intention to sign a new forward before the close of the transfer window.

The Ligue 1 champions have signed Hugo Ekitike from Reims but saw Angel Di Maria depart on a free transfer, while Galtier confirmed Arnaud Kalimuendo is closing in on a move to Rennes.

PSG may still have Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi to lead the line, but a long and gruelling season – which is complicated by the World Cup in Qatar – has Galtier wanting to increase the depth in his attack.

"Yes, we would like to bring in another forward. We have a very busy schedule, so we would like to bring someone in," he told a news conference ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash against Montpellier.

"The club is working hard on that. I am in constant contact with Luis Campos [PSG football advisor], the board and the president. We must not make any mistakes. We must not rush things. We have to do something realistic.

"There are no guarantees. I know the club won't sign anyone for the sake of it. It would need to be someone who can really bring something to the squad and that is what the club are working on."

Another forward edging towards the exit is Mauro Icardi, with Galtier adding that the club are exploring options for the Argentina international regarding a transfer. 

"It has not been easy. His absence from the squad last week was down to a sporting choice, I saw him at the start of the week to say that I am going to make the squad smaller. I am not going to work with 25 players," Galtier explained.

"Whether he has offers that he might like, I don't know. The club is working on that, we're working with Icardi to find the best possible solution. He had very little playing time last season and I think it is important for him to do that.

"Whether he wants to play in the Champions League specifically, I don't know. In the interest of the club, we want him to find the best solution, which is a club where he can show his quality.

"He has had a tough couple of years and with his experience playing somewhere different and having a better atmosphere, that might allow him to get his career going again."

Chelsea are ready to make a splash in the transfer market with a series of signings on the cards.

The Blues have been heavily linked with Leicester City's Wesley Fofana as they seek replacements for the departed Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in defence.

Chelsea are understood to be keen to bolster their forward options too, with Romelu Lukaku exiting for Inter.

TOP STORY – BLUES TO SWOOP FOR DE JONG AND AUBA

Chelsea are all set to sign Barcelona pair Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should the Catalans permit the duo to exit the club, reports Sky Sports.

Manchester United have been involved in a drawn-out saga for De Jong this off-season, with the Dutchman reluctant to leave but the Blues are ready to match their £72million (€85m) bid, plus offer Champions League football.

Aubameyang only joined Barcelona in January but has previously worked with Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.

ROUND-UP

– ESPN claims that Barcelona's off-season signings Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie could leave the Blaugrana for free if the club cannot register them due to LaLiga financial fair play rules in time for Saturday's league opener. Barca defender Gerard Pique has offered to play for free to help register the new players, according to AS.

– The Mail reports that Manchester City are set to finalise an £11m deal for 21-year-old Spanish left-back Sergio Gomez from Anderlecht on Thursday. Fabrizio Romano claims he may be loaned out to Girona.

– Rennes forward Arnaud Kalimuendo is on the cusp of joining Paris Saint-Germain for €25m, claims L'Equipe. Leeds United have shown an interest in the 20-year-old striker.

– Atalanta and Nottingham Forest have agreed terms for the transfer of Switzerland international midfielder Remo Freuler, reports Sky Sport Italia.

Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed former Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah was among those who advised him to join Jose Mourinho's Roma.

Having left Liverpool for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last year, Wijnaldum headed to Roma on a season-long loan deal last week.

Wijnaldum lifted the Champions League and Premier League trophies during a successful five-year spell at Anfield, but his impact was limited during a frustrating 2021-22 campaign in the French capital.

While the Netherlands international made 38 appearances in all competitions for PSG last season, fellow midfielders Danilo Pereira (2,623), Marco Verratti (2,621) and Idrissa Gueye (2,043) all played more than his total of 1,992 minutes for the Ligue 1 winners.

After becoming the latest arrival of a busy transfer window at the Stadio Olimpico, Wijnaldum said former Giallorossi winger Salah, alongside Kevin Strootman and PSG wing-back Achraf Hakimi, encouraged him to move to Italy.  

"First of all, I wanted to come because of the effort the club put in to sign me as a player," Wijnaldum told a news conference on Tuesday. 

"Also, I spoke with Mo Salah and Kevin Strootman about Roma, about the club and the city, and I only heard good stories about it. 

"I even spoke with Achraf Hakimi about it, even though he played at Inter Milan, he said [Roma] was a beautiful club and a beautiful place and I would be happy here. So that convinced me a lot.

"I know the club, we played them twice when I was at Liverpool [in the Champions League in 2018], and the atmosphere at the Olimpico was amazing – so I knew that I would be playing for a club with a great atmosphere and beautiful supporters.

"But that was basically the only thing I knew, so I asked for some advice from Mo and Strootman and they had good stories." 

Wijnaldum has joined the likes of Nemanja Matic and Paulo Dybala in signing for Roma ahead of the new Serie A campaign, and added the influence of Mourinho was another factor in his decision to head to Italy.

"When I arrived, we spoke more about football things. I think his record as a manager speaks for itself," the midfielder said of the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss.

"The things he did in football, the prizes he won and the clubs he managed, it's unbelievable. 

"I think every player wants to work with him and I am the same. From the moment I spoke to him, I told myself I really wanted to join the club – but that was the case even before.

"I think the thing that convinced me the most was the amount of effort the club, through Mr [director of football, Tiago] Pinto and the manager, put in to sign me. At that moment I felt really wanted and appreciated by the club and that helped me make the decision."

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier has backed Lionel Messi to shake off last term's challenges and have a "great season" after opening the Ligue 1 campaign with a double.

Messi capped off PSG's 5-0 win at Clermont on Saturday with two late goals, including a spectacular over-head strike. Neymar, Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos all scored in the first half.

The Argentine's double comes after he only managed 11 goals in all competitions in his first season in the French capital following his move from Barcelona, while he struggled to find cohesion alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term too.

"He had a bit of a difficult season last season, he had to fit in," Galtier told reporters.

"There was a radical change but in every season before that he has at least 30 goals.

"He went through a complete pre-season. When he has his bearing both in terms of his family life but also in terms of his club, the team and his fellow players, there is no reason why Leo should not have a great season."

Galtier, who took over at PSG from Mauricio Pochettino last month, was glowing in his praise of Messi having spoken at length during their pre-season tour of Japan.

"I spoke with Leo during our time in Japan and I also talked with my attacking players to make sure that he could perform well all the time," he said.

"Leo has a very sharp tactical sense, very clear. He has vision. He quickly sees where he has to go.

"The way he defends, the way he positions himself to play with others. He can get into the zone. He likes to play with the players he has around him.

"From there, when Leo smiles obviously, the team smiles too."

PSG are in action next weekend in the league at home to Montpellier.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier confirmed Kylian Mbappe's absence from their Ligue 1 opener was precautionary, with the star striker set to return next week.

The France international sat out the first game of PSG's title defence just under a week on from missing their Trophee des Champions triumph over Nantes.

Mbappe's absence was not particularly felt on Saturday, as a Lionel Messi double and a superb four-goal-involvement performance from Neymar helped PSG to a 5-0 rout of Clermont Foot.

But speaking to Canal+ afterwards, Galtier has assuaged fears the 23-year-old could be a long-term absentee, acknowledging he could have risked him had it been a high-stakes game.

Asked if Mbappe could be back next weekend, Galtier said: "Yes, I think so. He had a little problem, [and] we didn't want to take any risks.

"Obviously, if we had been playing a difficult game or a Champions League game, Kylian might have participated.

"We preferred to delay his return and he will be with us obviously, I think, against Montpellier."

PSG will play their first home game of the season against Montpellier next Saturday, with the club hoping to make it three competitive wins on the bounce under their new boss.

Manchester United are reportedly willing to meet Salzburg's £41.8million asking price for 19-year-old Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko.

Sesko, who does not turn 20 until next May and measures in at 195cm tall, scored 11 goals in 37 games last season, and he opened the new Bundesliga campaign with a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Austria Vienna.

According to The Athletic, United decided against signing Sesko for £2.5m as a 16-year-old, and they will now have to pay up to secure the services of the in-demand forward.


TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN BIG MOVE FOR TOWERING SLOVENIAN STRIKER

The report from Express calls Sesko "a priority target" for new boss Erik ten Hag, but also mentions that the Austrian club is extremely high on him as a prospect – going as far as comparing his future to that of former Salzburg man Erling Haaland.

Meanwhile, Sport Klub claims Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are also monitoring the situation, and that Sesko and Salzburg will be meeting in the next week to make a firm decision on his future.

Sesko is also Slovenia's youngest-ever international debutant, having debuted one day after his 18th birthday, and became their youngest international goalscorer a few months later.


ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato claims Tottenham are set to sign 19-year-old defender and Manchester City target Destiny Udogie from Udinese for a deal in the range of £25m.

– The Mirror is reporting that Everton have swooped in to land West Ham target Amadou Onana from Lille with a fee of £33.7m.

Leeds United are making a £22m bid for Paris Saint-Germain forward Arnaud Kalimuendo, according to the Sun.

– A Sky Sports report states Crystal Palace are interested in bringing back defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka from United.

– Liverpool are exploring a potential £50m move to bring in Leroy Sane from Bayern Munich, according to 90min.

Georginio Wijnaldum has joined forces with Jose Mourinho at Roma on a season-long loan deal after a difficult first year at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Serie A club confirmed the signing of Wijnaldum on Friday, just over a year after he moved to PSG from Liverpool as a free agent.

Roma have the option to sign the Netherlands midfielder on a permanent basis at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

His arrival comes on a day fellow midfielder Jordan Veretout left the Giallorossi to join Ligue 1 side Marseille.

Wijnaldum was signed by PSG in June 2021 after his Reds contract expired, with the French giants muscling in when it had looked like he would join long-time admirers Barcelona.

Yet Wijnaldum struggled to make an impact in France, starting only 22 games and frequently coming in for external criticism for his performances.

He scored three goals and provided three assists across all competitions, and made 16 appearances off the bench, but has been considered expendable by new head coach Christophe Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino last month.

Wijnaldum was a first-team regular with Liverpool, starting 34 of the club's 38 Premier League games in his final season at Anfield.

At PSG, he was substituted 15 times last term, with only Angel Di Maria (18 times) replaced more often.

 

Now the 31-year-old heads to Roma, who finished sixth last season in Serie A and won the Europa Conference League.

A number of players have left the Italian capital side, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Inter on a free transfer, but head coach Mourinho has brought in Paulo Dybala from Juventus and Nemanja Matic from Manchester United.

Like that pair, Wijnaldum will add considerable experience to the Roma ranks, and the prospect of regular first-team football in a World Cup year was sure to appeal to the Dutchman.

Kylian Mbappe must wait to show why he was worth the bumper pay deal that kept him at Paris Saint-Germain, with the striker unexpectedly forced to miss the team's Ligue 1 opener.

The reigning French champions announced that Mbappe, who was pictured in training on Thursday, would miss Saturday's game away to Clermont due to an adductor injury.

That will surely be welcome news for minnows Clermont, who suffered at Mbappe's hands last season. The France star scored once in PSG's 4-0 home win over Clermont, and then hit a hat-trick in a 6-1 away trouncing in April.

Mbappe's absence came in a team news bulletin from PSG that said an update on the 23-year-old, who signed a new three-year contract in May, would come in 72 hours' time.

It means Christophe Galtier, the coach who replaced Mauricio Pochettino last month, will be unable to field Mbappe together with Neymar and Lionel Messi this weekend.

Galtier's first competitive match with the big three at his disposal must wait, perhaps for the home game against Montpellier on Saturday, August 13.

Mbappe also missed last weekend's Trophee des Champions match. He was absent due to suspension for a game that saw PSG thrash Nantes 4-0, with Messi scoring the opener, Neymar netting twice and Sergio Ramos also weighing in on an all-star demolition of last season's Coupe de France winners.

Reports have claimed Mbappe's new contract, which kept him out of the clutches of long-time admirers Real Madrid, is worth around €50million annually and came with an even heftier signing-on fee.

He was PSG's top scorer last season, netting 39 goals from 46 games across all competitions, playing no part in just three Ligue 1 matches.

Paris Saint-Germain have completed the signing of midfielder from Renato Sanches from Ligue 1 rivals Lille for an undisclosed fee.

The midfielder has been reunited with new PSG coach Christophe Galtier, signing a five-year contract with the French champions.

Sanches had been linked with Serie A champions Milan, but PSG emerged as the favourites to land the 24-year-old.

The Portugal international won the 2020-21 Ligue 1 title playing under Galtier at Lille, where he arrived from Bayern Munich in 2019.

Sanches told PSG's official website: "I'm really happy to have arrived here in Paris. These last few days have been really important for me and for my family.

"I'm sure that I've made the right choice by signing for the club. I chose Paris Saint-Germain because I think that it's the best project for me. Staying in France was important to me, as I know this league already."

The former Benfica man is relishing the opportunity to work again with Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino last month.

Sanches added: "I know him well. He's a good coach who helped me improve a lot after I came into Ligue 1. Together, we even managed to win the league with Lille.

"We worked well together, and I'm happy to be working with him again, as well as with his coaching staff. Working with a manager that you know always makes things easier. The communication between you is simpler."

The arrival of Sanches comes with Georginio Wijnaldum expected to join Roma and Idrissa Gueye a target for his former club Everton.

PSG start the defence of their Ligue 1 title with a trip to Clermont on Saturday.

Christophe Galtier has told Paris Saint-Germain's superstars that a team that defends together can win big together.

New head coach Galtier believes squad spirit is contagious, and that such togetherness holds the key to getting the best out of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi this season.

The man now at the helm at Parc des Princes watched the PSG trio from afar last term, while bossing Nice. They spluttered at times as a combination when they were widely expected to take French and European football by storm.

Rarely have such a starry trio belonged to the same club at the same time, and they will be expected to better last season's performance as PSG again go after their holy grail: Champions League glory.

In Ligue 1 last season, Mbappe rattled in 28 goals in 35 games, but Neymar again missed chunks of the campaign and finished with 13 goals in 22 outings in the competition, while former Barcelona captain Messi hit the back of the net just six times in 26 league appearances, despite having an expected goals (xG) tally of 11.4.

 

Mbappe was absent through suspension for the 4-0 Trophee des Champions thrashing of Nantes last weekend. Messi opened the scoring, Neymar added a double, and Sergio Ramos completed the rout as Galtier, who took over from the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in July, picked up early silverware.

When the Parisians head to Clermont for their league opener on Saturday, Mbappe will be available once more, and that means in all likelihood the front three will be reunited.

"It's a pleasure to have Kylian Mbappe back for the first league game," said Galtier. "He's been involved in our pre-season."

Galtier was asked directly about what the key would be to getting the best out of the front three, but the coach took a tangential path to offering his view, and in doing so indicated he perhaps expects extra effort from Mbappe, Messi and Neymar when it comes to contributing all over the pitch.

"In terms of our defensive set-up we have a collective desire and responsibility. Also, as individuals. There can be periods in matches where it is very tight and the team hasn't yet got on top of the opposition in terms of the scoreline or finding spaces," Galtier said.

"We want to be very focused on not letting the opposition affect our style of play. We have a priority as a team and as individuals.

"When you have team-mates making a big effort, of course, that is contagious, and it means the players around them want to make the same effort. So we need to make sure this is what happens.

"There might be moments in games where it is not going so well. The midfield and defence might need to accept that there can be periods of the game where, for whatever reason, these attackers might find it hard to get back, or that could also go for the wing-backs.

"We have to accept that we all have to defend together, but sometimes the players who might be involved in the first stage of recovery with our pressing game might not be in the right position. So we have to do everything we can to create time for them to get back into the right position in our defensive block."

 

Galtier said he and PSG would benefit from the experience of former Real Madrid captain Ramos, who spent the majority of his first season with the club on the sidelines due to injury woes.

"It is always good to have players like him, and they can bring their experience," said Galtier. "Professionalism. That is what they bring to their team-mates, and to me they also have experiences that I haven't had, so I can learn from that, and they might also have answers to questions that I am asking myself."

In Clermont's debut Ligue 1 season last term, they were beaten 4-0 and 6-1 by PSG on the way to finishing 17th, just avoiding the drop.

PSG have won each of their past seven opening games in Ligue 1, a sequence which has only previously been surpassed by Marseille (10) and Bordeaux (9).

This will be PSG's 50th season in Ligue 1, and it brings them an opportunity to land an 11th league title, which would take them ahead of Saint-Etienne to become the outright most successful team in the competition's history. Anything less would be considered a failure.

Paris Saint-Germain are poised to complete the signing of Renato Sanches, with coach Christophe Galtier hailing the "explosive qualities" of the Lille midfielder.

Speaking in a news conference on Thursday, Galtier said Sanches would give him fresh options in midfield, believing the 24-year-old Portugal international will bring added dynamism.

Italian champions Milan were also keen on Sanches, but a deal with PSG appears to be all but over the line.

It will mean the former Benfica, Bayern Munich and Swansea City player comes in as PSG look set to offload Georginio Wijnaldum to Roma and Idrissa Gueye to Everton.

Head coach Galtier said: "Renato Sanches is a player with qualities that others do not have, particularly if I compare him with Marco Verratti and Vitinha. He is an explosive player who makes a difference on the pitch with his runs."

Galtier said PSG were pleased to have observed the availability of Sanches and "taken that opportunity" to go in for him. The PSG boss worked with Sanches at Lille previously, collaborating in the club's 2020-21 title-winning season.

"He is arriving quite late on. I don't think he has played much in his preparation games because he was expecting to move clubs, so he will be a bit behind the others," Galtier said.

"He is a completely different player in terms of his explosive qualities and his ability to break the lines in the midfield, and he can also make a big impact defensively."

Reigning French champions PSG travel to face Clermont in their Ligue 1 opener on Saturday, as they begin their pursuit of what would be a record 11th Ligue 1 title.

Another Ligue 1 campaign begins on Friday after a big window for French football, the highlight of which was Paris Saint-Germain retaining Kylian Mbappe.

New arrivals in the league include returns for Lyon duo Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, while high-profile departures have seen Aurelien Tchouameni, Sven Botman and Nayef Aguerd depart.

With PSG once again investing heavily in their squad, adding the likes of Vitinha, Hugo Ekitike and Nordi Mukiele, the capital club are widely expected to storm to another title – but can there be an upset?

The verdict, unsurprisingly, is probably not – as Stats Perform AI predicted the outcome of the coming campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and, while the title race is not likely to get going, there are some big battles elsewhere in the division.

PSG PARTY ONCE AGAIN

With one of the most expensive squads ever assembled, including the devastating attack of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG are unsurprisingly expected to romp to another Ligue 1 success.

Having won eight of the last nine titles, Stats Perform AI has given PSG a 76.01 per cent chance of retaining their crown.

Marseille, runners-up last season, are seen as the side most capable of mounting a challenge, though their 7.29 per cent chance is slim. Monaco, title winners in 2016-17, are given a 6.55 per cent chance.

Lyon, once the dominant force in French football, have just a 4.29 per cent chance, while Rennes clock in at 3.44 per cent and Lille, the last side to prevent PSG from winning the title having lifted the trophy in 2020-21, have only a 0.71 per cent chance.

The gulf in class within French football is highlighted by the fact that nine teams, almost half of the division, are seen as having no hope in mounting a title challenge.

 

SCRAMBLE FOR EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Unlike the other top leagues in European football, France has a limited number of places for qualification for UEFA competitions with just two guaranteed Champions League spots, one qualifying spot, one spot in the Europa League group stage and one in the Europa Conference League play-offs.

With PSG expected to surge to the title and take the first of the two group stage spots in the Champions League, with a 90.93 per cent likelihood, the scrap for the other automatic qualification spot could be fierce.

Marseille are seen as the favourites in that battle with a 29.97 per cent chance, with Monaco following suit with a 29.97 per cent chance.

Elsewhere, Lyon have an 18.7 per cent chance, with Rennes at 15.53 per cent, though they may have to settle for a third-place finish or a spot in the Europa League.

In the battle for fifth, and a play-off spot in the Conference League, it's also expected to be tight – with five clubs, as well as those already mentioned above, given at least a five per cent chance of reaching that spot.

Nice, Lens, Lille, Nantes and Strasbourg are all in with an outside shot of gunning for a spot in European competition, which could set up a thrilling battle.

 

REGULATION CHANGES INCREASE RELEGATION FIGHT

With Ligue 1 reducing to 18 teams from the 2023-24 season, the fight to avoid the drop to the second-tier will be fiercer than ever with the bottom four all being relegated – and there will be no play-offs either.

The situation looks bleak for Ajaccio (57.64 per cent chance of relegation), Clermont (57.57), Troyes (56.72) and Lorient (53.92), all of which are seen as more likely to suffer relegation than they are to avoid the drop.

Auxerre (46.58) and Toulouse (34.02) could also find themselves looking over their shoulders during the course of the season, while PSG, Marseille and Monaco are the three sides given no chance leaving the league through the bottom.

Of the promoted trio, it is Toulouse who are given the best chance of maintaining their top-flight status for another season – with their most likely position being 15th, with a 10.59 per cent chance of securing that spot.

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