Finally, after years and years of suspense, misleading transfer rumors, and deadline-day chaos, the ever-entertaining Kylian Mbappé has left PSG and Ligue 1.

After leaving for free and ostensibly signing a huge contract, Mbappé joins a stacked front line including Vinicius and Rodrygo while teaming up with superstars Jude Bellingham and Federico Valverde. It’s an exciting new chapter in his life that will certainly lead to goals, trophies, and a potential bid as one of the greatest of all time.

He leaves behind a dominant stint in France where he won seven Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France trophies, two Coupe de la Ligue, and a Champions League final berth. He goes down in PSG history with 256 goals, 56 more than second, and 288 total goals and 126 assists throughout his time with Monaco and PSG. Not only will Ligue 1 change with his absence, but French soccer will morph drastically without him.

That’s not to say that Mbappé is the only reason to watch French football. Ligue 1 has long been a hub for young talent and stars to succeed, and it plays an attractive, entertaining brand of football. Although Mbappé leaving will be a huge blow to Ligue 1, it should not be the end-all, be-all for teams.

Quality in France is still elite

Even without Mbappé, PSG still has a lot of exciting talent. Warren Zaïre-Emery is one of the most exciting midfielders in the world. Nuno Mendes, Bradley Barcola, Manuel Ugarte, and Gonçalo Ramos are all young superstars ready for an increased role. Achraf Hakimi and Ousmane Dembélé are also still stars in their own right.

Lille center-back Leny Yoro is making his case as one of the best defenders in Europe despite being 18 years old. Yoro’s playstyle — composure and calmness that exudes from the teenager along with his technical ability and athleticism — has put him on top of several clubs’ shortlists. Real, United, and PSG have all been linked to the Frenchman, but staying at Lille is a definite possibility. Yoro is a diamond in the rough who will dominate Ligue 1 before he leaves.

“It was so obvious. It was so clear to see Leny’s talent,” Lille manager Paulo Fonseca told The Athletic about watching Yoro for the first time.

Other young, must-watch talents that should stay in Ligue 1 before landing a big move include Nice’s flashy midfielder Khéphren THuram, versatile Lens attacker Elye Wahi, and American striker Folarin Balogun.

Ligue 1 consistently develops new talents that dominate France and perform well abroad. It’s evident based on France’s superstar Euros squad. The majority of France’s Euros squad has spent extensive time in Ligue 1, and there are several more inside the French academy system that will see playing time for Les Bleus.

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Exciting title races

Yes, PSG is still poised for a huge transfer window after Mbappé. Sources link the club to several different players.

You can remember the entertaining 2020-21 Ligue 1 season where Lille clinched the title on the final matchday. Or in 2016-17, where an offensively dominant Monaco scored 103 goals en route to a title. Most seasons are won by PSG. But, teams like Monaco, Lille, or even Lens, who nearly took the title last season, could claim a shock title.

With PSG’s loss of Mbappé, who has accounted for 47% of PSG’s goals since joining, they have a huge void in the attack that will take time and money. They have the money to buy an elite attacker. But, it will take time to integrate him into the offense and build a rapport with his teammates. This season could be the perfect chance for a team to deny PSG a fourth-straight title.

It’s evident based on French performances in Europe. Marseille forged a deep run into the Europa League, falling in the semifinals to Atalanta. Lille advanced to the quarterfinals of the Conference League. Toulouse, Rennes, and Lens all advanced to the knockout rounds of the Europa League. Even though no one is close to seriously contending for a title, France is quickly becoming more competitive and entertaining.