This is taken from the GFFN 100, our leading 150-page FREE publication ranking the best 100 players in France, see the full list and read every profile right here.

Before his move to Lyon in the summer transfer window, Johann Lepenant was a somewhat unknown talent to fans of the elite game. However, the former Caen midfielder was nevertheless prominent on the radars of Europe’s leading clubs, with Atlético Madrid and Arsenal reportedly suitors of the 19-year-old. Considering his performances thus far in an OL shirt, it is easy to see why.

Signing on the dotted line at Groupama Stadium for an initial €4.25m, expectations were muted among fans of Les Gones as to the influence the teenager would have on OL’s midfield as Peter Bosz wanted to add a more experienced anchor to the squad after Thiago Mendes’ unlikely positional switch to centre-back. That signing did not materialise, providing Lepenant with a golden opportunity. One that he has taken.

For someone so young, Lepenant has shown incredible confidence in possession when featuring at the base of the OL midfield. Incredibly adept at moving on the half-turn and finding a teammate when tasked with progression, he’s a vital cog in Lyon’s transition play. Ball progression is one thing, but to be able to progress the ball in a calculated and accurate manner with precise passing is another, and arguably more important. Lepenant is a pass master. He ranks in the top percentile of midfielders across Europe’s leading five leagues over the last year for long pass completion and the top 7% of midfielders for medium pass completion.

Beyond his passing accuracy and calmness, Lepenant also plays as cover for Lyon’s backline. Defensively, OL are not the strongest but the young midfielder certainly does plenty of defensive work. The Frenchman completes 4.55 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes and is immensely difficult to beat in a one-on-one situation, with 1.63 dribblers tackled per 90.

Lepenant is a raw talent at 19, and there are areas of his game that have room for improvement but, with the correct application and such high potential, he could become a stalwart of French football for years to come.

Liam Wraith | GFFN 100

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