Last season Monaco were one of the most exciting teams in Europe to watch. The team from the principality won the French Ligue One title, while also making the Champions League semi-finals.
Leonardo Jardim’s team were in many ways a victim of their own success, as a number of star players have left the club this summer and others are reported targets for other clubs.
The latest sale could be that of full-back Benjamin Mendy. According to Sky Sports the full-back is set to leave the French champions for Manchester City in a deal worth £51m.
Mendy will not be the first player to leave this summer and he might be the last.
Location, location, location
A high number of Monaco’s exciting team were players in their early twenties, who would inevitably head for pastures new eventually. The club from the principality is unable to keep their top talent simply because Monaco is more famous for its inhabitant’s luxury yachts and lifestyles than its football team.
Indeed, Monaco’s stadium the Stade Louis ll has a capacity of just 18,523. Incredibly, the French champions had the lowest average attendance in their domestic league last season of 9.499. Quite simply the football team is a victim of their location.
It is hard to imagine the champions of any other top European football league attracting such small crowds. Players do not just want to collect big pay packets. The more ambitious stars want to play in front of big crowds and at the biggest stadiums in the world.
Lifestyle-wise Monaco is probably heaven for some. However, career-wise Monaco is only a development ground for players wanting to join the bigger clubs in the European game.
One of the best businesses in Europe
Monaco have an incredible record of developing players. Two of last season’s stars midfielders Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernardo Silva have joined the Premier League gravy train by joining Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.
England is the place to be for young players when it comes to profile and massive salaries. The Bakayoko and Silva moves are typical of what Monaco have done down the years and very successfully so.
Monaco have a simple philosophy. They buy highly rated young players for relatively cheap fees. The French club then develop them into players that they know they can sell on at a massive profit in the future. When it comes to business Monaco are one of the shrewdest clubs in Europe.
It seems like a simple strategy. However, not many clubs have been able to copy it in the European game. It may temporary weaken their team, but the French champions seem to pull off the trick repeatedly.
A perfect example of their way of working would be their summer signing of Belgian starlet Youri Tielemans. The 20-year-old is touted as a superstar of the future. However, Monaco snapped him up for €25 million from Anderlecht.
If the midfielder develops as expected, then the club from the principality will probably double their money selling the Belgium international in two or three years’ time.
How will they do in season 2017/18?
Monaco may sell Silva, Bakayoko and even Mendy this summer. However, it looks like highly rated striker Kevin Mbappe and winger Thomas Lemar may yet stay for another year or so.
Jardim’s team still have many quality players in their squad, despite the seemingly mass sale of some of their biggest and best assets this summer. The French champions are currently odds of 5/1 to retain their crown next season. The bookmakers believe that big-spending PSG will top the table next season.
Monaco are certainly shrewd when it comes to getting big transfer fees for the players they develop. However, the playing side must suffer at some point. Then again judging by their average attendances there will be few in the principality that will care if the team is successful or not on the field.
Will Monaco still prosper on the pitch next season?
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