Can former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri lead Monaco to title success in Ligue 1?
In the last six seasons, six different sides have won the French Ligue 1 title. Lyon’s domination, which saw them win seven back to back titles from 2002, was ended in 2009 by Bordeaux, followed by triumphs for Marseille, Lille, Montpellier and last season Paris St. Germain.
No other league can offer such a wide variety of winner in such a short period of time.
After PSG’s win last year though, it is hard to see such a cycle being repeated in the coming six seasons. Mega money has come into Ligue 1, and only Monaco now have the financial backing to compete with the capital club.
While PSG and Monaco have bought the likes of Joao Moutinho, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Edinson Cavani and Marquinhos to name just 5, and splurged in excess of over £200mm, traditional rivals Marseille, Lyon and Saint Etienne are sellers in the market.
Newcastle seem to have been on the verge of signing, and then not signing and then signing again Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis, since Joe Kinnear’s arrival, with several other Premier League sides also claiming to have an interest.
Despite this, a move away from Stade de Gerland has not yet materialised, primarily due to OL chairman Jean-Michel Aulas sticking to his guns over the amount of money he feels the striker is worth.
Lyon may join the party again, once the long awaited Stade des Lumières is completed, but until then, selling their better players will unfortunately be Les Gones lot.
Marseille will likely consider a repeat of last seasons second place finish a success. They too are looking to offload some of their bigger players, and will be looking to replace star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac who is touted for a big money move to one of Europe’s powerhouses, much in the same way Dortmund snapped up Saint Etienne’s top scorer from last season, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
Saint Etienne will be competing in Europe for only the second time since 1982 after winning the Coupe de la Ligue, and will need strength in depth if they are to have a prolonged Europa league campaign. As with Marseille, who will be in the Champions League again, there is a lack of quality and certainly a lack of depth in both squads.
This season will be one of interest for Monaco supporters, who have had it tough following their relegation. The quality signings which will be turning out for the principality side will certainly have them up near the top of the league, but it will be a very different side from the one which won Ligue 2. How manager Claudio Ranieri gets such a lot of new signings to gel will be of huge consequence on the performance of the side.
Without the distraction of European football, Monaco are sure to launch a serious threat to PSG’s title, who in turn have enough firepower and strength in depth to cope with playing in Europe’s top competition and retaining their title. In fact, if PSG do not better go further than their last eight exit last time round, there will certainly some soul searching considering the wealth of talent they have available.
Monaco are at present awaiting the results of an appeal against starting the season with a two points deduction doming from their fans invading the pitch celebrating their return to the top flight after the last game of last season. The clubs hierarchy know how important those two points could be come the end of the season.
They realise that PSG are two years ahead of them in terms of investment and of recruiting, and that shows in the depth of the two squads, despite the lavish outlay from the Monegasques.
It will be an incredible return for Monaco, if they can become the seventh team in seven years to lift the championship. It is not beyond them, by any means but it will take something special for the Le Championnat not to be having a second year residing in the capital.
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