Monaco sows the seeds of success
Winner of Ligue 1 Uber Eats in 2017 then candidate for relegation two years later, AS Monaco now seems to have regained stability, thanks to the foundations laid last year by the arrivals of coach Niko Kovac and the sporting director Paul Mitchell.
“The foundations that we are building are for the long term. We want the club to become as stable as possible,” said AS Monaco vice-president Oleg Petrov. “We make sure that we are structured in each branch so that we do not back down and survive difficulties like the ones we have experienced recently.”
The Russian this year received the keys to the club’s new state-of-the-art performance center while closing the door on the excessive player-swap policy, which had seen Monaco with more than 70 contracted professionals at once indicate.
Since arriving, Mitchell’s mission has been to reduce that number while strengthening the team. One month from the end of the transfer window, Monaco has 48 players under contract, of which ten, very young, are assigned to the reserve team. A dozen others are doomed to leave, some with big salaries – vestiges of the past like Keita Baldé, Pelé and Antonio Barreca, who no longer train at La Turbie, and Henry Onyekuru, who has just joined the Olympiacos.
On the other hand, the club’s policy being to hang on to talented players, Monaco will now sell them sparingly, especially since Mitchell believes that “the current situation in the transfer market is unprecedented, uncertain and difficult for many clubs “.
However, club president and majority shareholder Dmitry Rybolovlev is in good shape. Without revealing any numbers, Petrov maintains that the big boss “supported the club and was very important” during the pandemic and the broadcast crisis. This support did not leave the Palace indifferent. Even though Rybolovlev is still mired in the Principality’s legal affairs and their relationship hasn’t always been for the best, Prince Albert did follow up on a few encounters with the oligarch last season. A strong sign from the sovereign.
Albert likes to see his club perform, and it certainly has been so far in 2021. Kovac’s side have had an excellent second half of the season, finishing third in the championship and qualifying for the Coupe de France final. (losing against PSG) with a dynamic system (4-2-3-1 in defense, 3-5-2 in attack) and high pressure, which were quite convincing.
Strengthening the team
“The club is already strong,” Petrov continued. “Every year we aim for Europe, with the desire to go to the Champions League as often as possible.”
To do so this season, Monaco will have to eliminate Sparta Prague, then endure the peels of another qualifying round.
But the preparation was long and intense, and the friendly matches promising. Kovac praised the quality of the work of a young team reinforced by the returns to the Euro of Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland.
“The current team is consistent and very athletically strong,” said Mitchell. “The aim is to create a maximum of competition for each position in order to produce the highest quality.”
The targeted recruitments of goalkeeper Alexander Nübel and left-back Ismail Jakobs – two young Germans with great potential – are clearly in favor of this plan, as is the trust placed in young talents such as Sofiane Diop, Eliot Matazo, Enzo Millot or Chrislain. Matsima.
So it seems that there is still a thirst for results in Monaco, but that the desire has been tempered by a zest of patience …