In an effort to make up for last season’s disappointing second place finish in Ligue 1 last season, Paris Saint-Germain have tried to poach two of AS Monaco’s star players during the summer transfer window. However, drawn out speculation and statements from Monaco executives seem to suggest both Kylian Mbappé and Fabinho won’t be making their way to the Parc des Princes any time soon.
The primary reason for both transfers stalling can be linked to the principality club’s unwillingness to strengthen their direct competitors. When you think about it, why should they? Leonardo Jardim signed a contract extension this summer and after tasting victory last season, you have to imagine the Portuguese tactician wants to retain his best players to have a chance to defend his title.
When Monaco regained promotion to Ligue 1 in 2013, their aim was to break PSG’s domestic domination. Their strategy initially resembled their rivals in terms of spending big in hopes of instant results but they failed to reach the summit. Financial Fair Play and other restrictions led to many big-name players being sold or loaned and Monaco were forced into a less lavish approach. Through impressive player scouting and development, they sought inexpensive players and sold them for impressive figures while remaining competitive.
Despite the sale of Ligue 1 Player of the Year nominee, Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, things might be changing around the Stade Louis II. Nearly every member of Monaco’s starting XI is rumored to be a transfer target for another club but resisting to sell their most prized asset–Mbappé–shows that making boatloads of cash isn’t a top priority this summer. Les Monégasques want to be the thorn in PSG’s side and you get the feeling that they won’t settle for just any offer if a capable replacement isn’t lined up.
Speaking at the end of last season, Monaco’s vice-president had this to say:
There will be some departures but we will definitely not let half a team go because we want to keep the team competitive for next year. A few, yes.–Vadim Vasilyev, Evening Standard
While reasonably adding that…
With the big names it’s difficult for players to resist. A player also understands that maybe next year he will not get such an offer. We are not on a level par with the biggest clubs in the world so we can’t resist financially to a certain extent.
Vadim Vasilyev may be underselling his club. Silva and Valère Germain have departed but Monaco have so far been successful in convincing key players to stay for at least one more season. Mbappé seems to be having fun with all of the media attention on social media, though. He recently posted a selfie at the airport with a caption written in the languages of the different countries he’s rumored to be playing in next season.
🇫🇷- Retour à Monaco
🇬🇧- Back to Monaco
🇪🇸- Volver a Monaco pic.twitter.com/bVQjIH1z8g
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) July 9, 2017
Keeping Mbappé is only part of the battle but there’s enough to suggest Monaco will still be a formidable opponent heading into the 2017-18 season. If Jardim is going to sign off on players leaving, it makes sense that they don’t trade the red-and-white kit for a blue and red one. More competition is what the league needs and hopefully Monaco can preserve their role as league contenders.
There’s the case that Monaco potentially helping PSG’s cause for European dominance will help boost the league’s European coefficient. Realistically though, unless Paris were to win multiple Champions League titles in the next few years, their performances alone wouldn’t be enough to put a huge dent in the current rankings. Other teams–Olympique de Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais, OGC Nice, for example–would need to improve their European performance as well.
From a PSG supporter’s point of view, it makes total sense to dislike Monaco’s stubborn stance but you have to at least respect their ambition.