FRENCH LEAGUE 2018-19: 5 new signings to watch out for

FILE - In this March 25, 2017 file photo, Portugal's Jose Fonte controls the ball during the World Cup Group B qualifying soccer match between Portugal and Hungary at the Luz stadium in Lisbon. The Portugal defender will continue his much-traveled career in the north of France after signing a two-year deal with Lille. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2016 photo Salzburg's Duje Caleta-Car looks to a ball during the Europa League group I soccer match between FC Salzburg and Krasnodar in the Arena in Salzburg, Austria. Nine-time champion Marseille bolstered its defense by signing Duje Caleta-Car from Red Bull Salzburg. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, file)
FILE - In this July 5, 2018 file photo, Russia's Aleksandr Golovin attends a training session at the 2018 soccer World Cup, at the Federal Sports Centre Novogorsk, near Moscow, Russia. One of the best players at the World Cup, Aleksandr Golovin was signed by Monaco from CSKA Moscow despite strong interest from Chelsea. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

PARIS — Although the transfer window in the French league doesn't close until the end of August, here is the pick of the signings so far ahead of the season starting this weekend:

ALEKSANDR GOLOVIN (Monaco)

One of the best players at the World Cup was signed by Monaco from CSKA Moscow despite strong interest from Chelsea.

With his excellent technique and dribbling skills, 22-year-old Aleksandr Golovin set the tone for a strong showing at the World Cup by setting up two goals and curling in a free kick in Russia's 5-0 opening victory over Saudi Arabia.

The midfielder also held his nerve to convert a penalty in the shootout against Spain that sent Russia to the quarterfinals.

LUCAS EVANGELISTA (Nantes)

Nantes reportedly paid 4 million euros ($4.6 million) to sign Brazilian midfielder Lucas Evangelista from Udinese. It represents good value for the unsung player who was scouted by Manchester United a few years ago when he played for Desportivo Brasil in his home country.

Evangelista has struggled to establish himself in Europe but finally came to prominence in Portugal with Estoril, with four goals and four assists last season. After starting his career further up on the field as a forward, the 23-year-old Evangelista is a versatile player who can also play on the wings and has shown some excellent attacking qualities on set pieces.

JOSE FONTE (Lille)

Portugal defender Jose Fonte will continue his much-traveled career in northern France after signing a two-year deal with Lille.

The 34-year-old Fonte started all four games at the World Cup in Russia as Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16. Two years ago, he was a member of the squad which won the European Championship in France.

The former Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham center back played only a few matches with Chinese club Dalian Yifang this year before terminating his contract.

DUJE CALETA-CAR (Marseille)

Nine-time champion Marseille bolstered its defense by signing Duje Caleta-Car from Red Bull Salzburg.

The 21-year-old Caleta-Car, who played a group game at the World Cup with Croatia, won four Austrian league titles and three national cups with Salzburg.

"He is a clever player, who understands football," Marseille sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said. "His very physical skills make him very good in the air, and he has good passing abilities."

THEOSON-JORDAN SIEBATCHEU (Rennes)

American-born striker Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu is back among the elite with Rennes after joining from Reims.

The 22-year-old center forward was born in Washington but grew up in France, honing his skills at the Reims academy. He moved to the Brittany club on the back of an excellent season, helping his former team back to the top division with 17 goals.

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More French league coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/Ligue1

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