Monaco Need To Keep Stars At Principality


When Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a majority shareholding in AS Monaco back in 2011, a lot of people thought that the Rouges et Blancs would be serious challengers to PSG’s title ambitions for most seasons.

Big transfer fees were splashed out on the likes of Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Radamel Falcao but the strong title push never came.

The Principality side then decided to change their business model and they soon stopped spending silly money on potential world stars. Instead they became a bit of a selling club making profits on Rodriguez, departing for Real Madrid, and youngster Anthony Martial, who joined Manchester United in 2015.

An ACL injury hampered Radamel Falco’s debut season at Monaco and their chances to sell him on thereafter. Two loan spells in England failed to turn into permanent deals as the Colombian hitman struggled with his fitness.

But now after the shift in their transfer model, AS Monace are starting to look like real challengers for the Ligue 1 title. It has helped that even though they were in a transitional period Monaco still managed to hold onto a Champions League place in the last three campaigns.

This term PSG’s dominance doesn’t look as strong as it has done in the past. The French capital side have lost an icon in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and new manager Unai Emery is still adapting to life in Ligue 1.

That has allowed other sides a chance to close the gap with Nice and Monaco being the main contenders.

One issue AS Monaco now have is that Europe’s elite sides view them as a selling club and with January fast approaching teams might see the French Riviera as the best place to gamble on buying a new star that can boost their hopes in 2017.

Brazilian international Fabinho was heavily linked with a move to England last summer, with Man Utd and Chelsea both reportedly very keen. United’s need for a new right sided full-back hasn’t disappeared and although Fabinho has found himself in the central midfield positions as of late he can equally play as a right-back. Five Ligue 1 goals in eleven starts is a stat that shows the twenty-three year is fast becoming a top player.

Another defender who has attracted attention is Djibril Sidibe. A move to Italy could be on the cards for the French internationalist. Napoli and Juventus have both been credited with an interest but the full-back only joined ASM last summer from Lille, so maybe it’s too early for him to depart from the south coast.

Then you have versatile attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar, who has seven goals to his name this term including two fine strikes against Spurs in the Champions League. The twenty-one year old’s form has been so impressive that he earned a call-up for Les Bleus and he won his first cap earlier this month.

With everyone looking for the next Martal or Antoine Griezmann a lot of the best scouts are at the Stade Louis II stadium checking on Lemar’s progress. Bayern Munich and Man City have supposedly noted their interests, while it has been reported that Atletico Madrid are preparing a £30m bid.

A big surprise has been the return to form from that fallen hitman Radamel Falcao.

The Colombian striker has banged in seven goals in his last eight club appearances. It could be worrying for opposition defences that Falcao still looks a bit rusty in-front of goal at times, so if he can improve on his strike to goal ratio then he could be unplayable in Ligue 1.

ASM boss Leonardo Jardim has made the forward his club captain, a responsibility that Falcao seems to thrive on. Jardim also gets his team to play through Radamel and he gives his star striker regular breaks. The form of Falcao might see certain European sides look at bringing him in for a loan deal until the summer but they may be gazumped by Chinese sides who could offer Monaco barrel loads of cash!

But it’s important that Monaco are smart this winter and don’t look to make a quick buck on their stars which can be detriment to a title push.

Fabinho, Sidibe and Lemar will only see their price rise come the summer.

The main one could be Falcao but they’ve been missing a prolific goalscorer and that might be the difference between first and second place!

So it could be a case of Monaco sticking this winter instead of twisting and gambling on their immediate future.

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