It seems that French club Monaco are determined to make a big splash on their return to Ligue One next season.
The club are owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who looks like he is serious about his club becoming a force in French and European football.
Onwards and upwards
PSG have already started the upward trend in French football and have spent big to clinch the Ligue One title.
PSG also made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. No doubt, the Parisians will strengthen again this summer.
While PSG clinched the Ligue One title, Monaco were busy winning the Ligue Two title. For most English observers their squad would have read like a who’s that? Rather than PSG’s who’s who of world football.
That is likely to change this summer, with a host of star names arriving in Monte Carlo and not just for the casinos either. More on the prospective new arrivals later on.
Their manager Claudio Ranieri will be well known to most English football fans though. The Italian boss helped in Chelsea’s growth and Ranieri seems to have done a good job in the principality. He earned the moniker while at Chelsea of ‘The Tinkerman’ because of his love of tinkering with his tactics and players.
Ranieri won the Ligue Two with Monaco and helped Les Rouge et Blanc back to the top division of French football. Like any club that has enormous spending power though Monaco are now being linked with replacing their boss with a higher-profile boss.
There were even spurious rumours that Monaco were looking to appoint departing Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho. Although that would sound like a tempting offer for the Portuguese boss, I do believe he is more likely to return to Stamford Bridge.
It would also be harsh on Ranieri, who was also replaced by Mourinho in 2004 at Chelsea. The experienced Italian boss should be allowed the opportunity to build a team at Monaco.
Monaco has already started a rebuilding programme with the big money signing of Porto pair Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez for a combined fee of around £60million. Both players were expected to attract interest from big clubs in Europe this summer, but Monaco acted fast to snap up the highly-rated pair.
More highly-rated stars are likely to sign for Monaco this summer, as owner Rybolovlev attempts to put Monaco back amongst the elite of European football. Stars like Carlos Tevez, Radamel Falcao and Samir Nasri have been linked with a move to the principality.
There is no doubt that the team Monaco fields next season will be a far different one to the one that took to the field this season. Monaco has far more spending power than any of the other clubs in Ligue One, PSG aside and could go from promotion to challenging at the top echelons of the league next season.
Monaco have a history of winning trophies, it is not as if they are a small club. With seven French league titles to their name and five French cups, AS Monaco is one of the more decorated clubs in the history of French football.
In fact, Monaco has won twice as many league titles as PSG, who have claimed just three in their granted short history. Monaco also made the Champions League final in 2004 under current Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps, only to be defeated by a Jose Mourinho inspired Porto.
Monaco’s relegation to Ligue Two in 2011 must have come as a shock to most French football fans. One of the biggest clubs in the French top flight being relegated is unimaginable. Their promotion this season though could see a re-emergence of a French giant.
The days of mediocrity could be a thing of the past for AS Monaco supporters. PSG looked set to dominate French football for years to come. However, if Monaco can bring in the right players they could be a big threat to the side from the French capital in the next couple of seasons.
Watch out PSG the club from the principality are about to add some more glitz and glamour to Ligue One next season, with a brand new galaxy of shining stars.
Will Monaco be major competition for PSG next season?