As Monaco continue their spending, Vincent Ralph looks at the players who could make way as a result.
The weeks directly after a football season are usually for pondering what was and what might have been, for drawing up wish-lists owners and managers have the whole summer to act on.
Unless you are Monaco, in which case you sign everyone – everyone – as quickly as possible.
Radamel Falcao’s £50million move to the principality makes it four big names in a week, following the arrivals of Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez from FC Porto and Ricardo Carvalho from Real Madrid.
“Our aim is to develop a beautiful team that plays beautiful football,” the club’s sporting director Vadim Vasilyev told French newspaper L’Equipe last week.
“We’d like to recruit four, five or six top players before pre-season begins.”
With four already in the bag – and with the door apparently being left open for more than six if their spending continues in the run up to the new league campaign – what do Monaco’s current players make of the situation?
After all these are the men who took them back to the top flight, only to see their achievements lost in a blaze of headlines and the frenzied writing of cheques.
Such is Monaco’s transfer policy that they are destined to have more than a few disgruntled bench-warmers next season…if the bench is even reachable given the rate at which the squad is growing. Either that or at least some of the players who did so well in the club’s successful Ligue 2 campaign won’t have the chance to experience the fruits of that success.
But could that mean we see a few of Monaco’s forgotten men move to the Premier League? English clubs will surely be watching the situation, asking themselves how much game-time the likes of Ibrahima Toure and Lucas Ocampos can expect to have when competing with the likes of Falcao and Rodriguez.
Toure has already spoken of his desire to play in the Premier League, with a special mention for Arsenal, and the 27-year-old Senegalese forward won’t be short of offers having finished last season as Monaco’s top scorer, with 18 league goals in 20 starts and 10 substitute appearances.
Having signed from UAE side Ajman for just £880,000 an offer of around £6million may be enough to tempt Monaco into business. With the addition of two such prolific Colombians, they won’t be short of goals should he depart.
Unproven in top flight football, Arsenal fans may feel Toure is too much of a risk. But don’t be surprised if the likes of West Ham United and Norwich – both seeking reinforcements up front – make an offer for the man whose goals may ultimately lead to his exit.
A younger alternative to Toure is 23-year-old Valere Germain, who plays as a second striker and scored 14 goals and provided 7 assists in 35 matches last season.
Given his age, his departure from the Stade Louis II is less likely even with the new arrivals. And it must be said that for all Monaco’s spending, they would be foolish to forget about the lesser lights completely. And yet for those who feel Toure is too old or unproven, the more rounded play of the younger forward could at least prompt an offer or two.
With Liverpool seeking a short and possibly long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, Germain could be the ideal strike partner for Daniel Sturridge.
Two more starlets with the potential to become fully-fledged stars are Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Argentinian midfielder Lucas Ocampos.
Having been named in FIFA’s 13 players to watch last year, 18-year-old Ocampos has reportedly been on the radar of both Chelsea and Manchester United for some time. Prior to his move to Monaco the likes of Juventus and PSG were also interested but, perhaps wisely, the teenager chose to move to a club where he would have the chance to play and to grow.
But Monaco aren’t looking like that club anymore. And those sides who once cast admiring glances in the direction of River Plate may now be doing the same in the direction of Monaco.
He won’t come cheap. And with a contract that runs until 2017 he may not come at all. But should Claudio Ranieri not consider him part of his plans there will be plenty of managers who will.
The same could be said for 19-year-old Ferreira-Carrasco. As the latest in a seemingly unending conveyor belt of Belgian talent, the winger scored six goals and provided six assists in 27 games last season. Having played for his country at every level from under-15 to under-21, he may choose to bide his time in France, knowing he has years ahead of him.
But with both Liverpool and Arsenal potentially seeking new wide players, a loan move could be the best option for all parties.
Can you see any of Monaco's current players in the Premier League next season? And which of them would you like to join your club?
image: © john1710