Thursday, April 26, 2018

Can Monaco keep hold of all their talented youngsters this summer?

David Nugent in Editorial, Ligue 1 23 Mar 2017


Monaco Kylian Mbappe has enjoyed a sparkling breakthrough campaign and is being linked with a big-money move away from the principality

Monaco have been one of the most exciting and forward thinking teams in the European game this season.

Leonardo Jardim’s team are currently leading Ligue One and are also in the last-eight of the Champions League, where they face German side Dortmund.

Not only have they achieved success this season they have played a brand of football that most people love to watch.

They have scored 87 goals in Ligue One this season, which is the highest goal tally in any of Europe’s top leagues.

Players and boss in demand

A couple of years ago Monaco spent big to compete with Ligue One rivals PSG. However, that failed to yield them a domestic league title. In an effort to meet FFP rules, the club from the principality put into action a more frugal approach.

The new approach involved using more of the players from the clubs youth academy. By luck or by judgement the approach seems to be paying off. The vibrant young team that Jardim has put together are thriving at home and abroad.

Unfortunately, the Monegasques could be a victim of their own success, with their boss reportedly interesting Arsenal, while a plethora of their young players are being linked with moves away from the club.

It was inevitable that the Premier League big money vultures came circling. Monaco has been unable to keep their top talent in the past, mainly due to being made offers that they could not refuse.

One of the most recent big-money sales was that of French international Anthony Martial to Manchester United in 2015, which could eventually net Monaco £57million.

Unfortunately, despite owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s claims that Monaco do not have to sell, a number of their highly-rated youngsters are being linked with moves to rich clubs, mainly in England.

The main Monaco player that seems to have caught the eye this season is 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe. The youngster has burst onto the scene this season, scoring 12 times in 22 Ligue One appearances.

His performances have led to the obvious comparisons with former Monaco star Thierry Henry. Mbappe’s performances have understandably caught the attention of other clubs. Arsenal, Manchester United and Real Madrid have all been reported to hold an interest in the star.

Then there are the likes of Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lemar, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Fabinho who have all been linked with moves to the Premier League. One plus for Monaco may be that will be able to keep their highly-rated boss, with Arsene Wenger looking set to stay at Arsenal.

Can they stave off interest?

In the grand scheme of football Monaco are a very small fish. They have a stadium that seats just 18,000 people and they very rarely fill it due to the clubs location. Monaco itself houses approximately 38,000 people, many of whom are living in the principality for the tax breaks.

A lack of fans will always be a drawback for a football club, even if its team does play some sparkling football at times. While living in a tax heaven may be good for the wallet, playing for Monaco is unlikely to be the zenith of most of their young player’s careers.

Most of Monaco’s young players will no doubt be attracted by the bright lights and high profiles of the Premier League and La Liga in the near future. They are unlikely to gain much recognition playing in Ligue One for Monaco.

For Monaco that is a massive problem. While rivals PSG have grown as a club in the French capital, Monaco are just not in a position do the same. That means that their young players will always be picked off by high-profile foreign clubs.

Monaco need to make the most of this season

It would be a shame for Monaco’s talented young side to be split up in the summer. However, there seems an almost inevitability about it. That means that Monaco have to make the most of this season.

Jardim’s team are currently top of the Ligue One table, three points ahead of perennial champions PSG. The men from Monaco are currently odds of 8/11 to win the French top-flight title this season. As we mentioned earlier they are also still in the Champions League and have a good chance of advancing past the last-eight stage.

Monaco have been one of the bright spots on the European football scene this season. I for one hope they clinch the Ligue One title and get as far as they possibly can in the Champions League.

This season is a massive opportunity for the Monegasques to win the French title and end PSG’s domestic stranglehold. They need to make it count, as unfortunately I highly doubt that all their young players will still be plying their trade in the principality next season.

Can Monaco keep hold of all their talented youngsters this summer?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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