By Karl Matchett.
French Ligue 1 reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain look set to retain their trophy at the end of this season, having already opened up an enormous 21-point lead over nearest rivals Monaco, remaining unbeaten in domestic league action and having both the best offensive and defensive records in the league.
It won't be a huge surprise to anyone that they have dominated the current campaign, given the drop-off in spending from Monaco, the departure of Marcelo Bielsa from Marseille and the injuries and inconsistencies of Lyon, but the lack of competition this year has still created a chasm beyond vast.
While PSG's real competition on the pitch comes in Europe in the form of the Champions League, they have another challenge to consider: revamping the attacking third of the team in summer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi are both out of contract in the summer, while there have been suggestions that Edinson Cavani's attitude could see him depart the French club too. With that in mind, we run the rule over three forwards that PSG should be looking at, whether to bid now and allow a settling-in period or to go all-in for in summer, to refresh and rejuvenate a talented but ageing attack.
Michy Batshuayi, Marseille
Kicking off with perhaps the top option in French football, PSG need no notification of who Michy Batshuayi is; the Belgian striker is the second-highest scorer in Ligue 1 this season, hitting 12 so far, and only behind Zlatan himself in the charts.
Fast-paced, athletic and with an eye to get shots away as early as possible, Marseille's front man has attracted interest from all over the continent and there isn't much doubt that there will be big money offers coming for him in the summer, especially if MarseilleÂ fail to secure European football.
Batshuayi can play from the flanks but it is in a central role where he has thrived most of all; in a 4-3-3 as PSG have often tended to play, he'd be an ideal outlet for the front line, more than capable of improving further in Ligue 1 and certainly looks ready to test himself as a Champions League starter too.
Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon
One more from France and a long-anticipated mover from Olympique Lyonnais, Alexandre Lacazette held on at his current club for this season, perhaps for the threefold reasons of Euro 2016, the new Lyon stadium and qualifying for Champions League football last term.
He hasn't hit the heights of last year-when he plundered 27 goals, comfortably Ligue 1's top scorer-but has still managed seven so far despite injuries. Lacazette is another who will be in demand, though perhaps there is a large section of watchers who don't quite see the Frenchman as a top-tier striker.
Goals he'll certainly score and better service from the likes of Javier Pastore or Angel Di Maria would certainly see his tally increase too, but does the 24-year-old have further growth in him? He's not France's first-choice striker and PSG might see him as an alternative option rather than the man to directly replace Zlatan: someone to come off the bench, a versatile attacker who can start from the flanks or a tactical alteration to go with two centre-forwards at times.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
One thing is for sure: with Zlatan going, along with his enormous wages, PSG will be keen to make a statement signing. Cristiano Ronaldo was a fair bet, but if Real Madrid's transfer ban remains in place for the summer, they might not be willing to let him go-and PSG should then turn to one of his potential heirs, Eden Hazard.Â
Another Belgian, Hazard shone in Ligue 1 previously at Lille and has since made a name for himself as a left-sided forward of enormous repute in the Premier League with Chelsea. This season hasn't been plain sailing though, with Hazard struggling for form and goals, and there is a slight sense of inevitability that the blues need a revamp. Hazard isn't just one of those who hasn't performed, he's one of their biggest assets in terms of market value.
PSG could easily expect to eclipse the £50 million they paid the London club for David Luiz in 2014, but the talents of Hazard would go some way to ensuring the quality and consistency of Zlatan is not overly missed, and for that level of ability, top money has to be paid.