As reported by Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon, Monaco midfielder, Geoffrey Kondogbia, is on the verge of completing a move to Italian giants, Inter Milan, for a fee in the range of €35 million.
If those reports are to be correct, the principality side will almost double their profit on the 22-year-old midfielder, who has made only four appearances for the French senior side, after forking out €20 million for his services from Sevilla in 2013.
Monaco, a Champions League outsider when online betting with Sportsbook.ag, may be losing a prized asset of their coveted midfield trio, but the departure of the young Frenchman is a microcosm of the transfer policy adopted by Les Rouges et Blancs — as they are affectionally known — since their summer of exodus in 2014.
The Colombian duo of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, who were purchased for a combined fee of €105 million, departed for greener pastures last summer and, since then, the pursestrings at the club have been tightened.
Previously, Monaco’s exploits in the transfer market were well-documented. The arrival of Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, lifted the club out of the doldrums and, only a year after gaining promotion to the top-tier, secured a second-place finish in Ligue 1.
The meteoric rise was catalysed by the injection of exorbitant funds, so the reluctance to strengthen, and replace the outgoing Colombian duo the following summer, raised a few eyebrows.
But, to the dismay of many, they have been shrewd. Rybolovelv has placed more emphasis upon Monaco’s scouting network in the hope of acquiring promising youngsters for paltry fees and, in the future, their development in the principality would allow the club to obtain a sizeable fee for their services. The precedent being the 100% profit made on Rodriguez exactly a year on from his arrival.
Leonardo Jardim, ex-Sporting Lisbon manager, was appointed in the summer of 2014 to administer this process. The 40-year-old has a track record in being able to blood youngsters into the first-team, augmenting their value and, more importantly, sustaining positive results.
Sporting Lisbon are famed in selling their brightest prospects to more established sides and Jardim, while losing his most talented stars year upon year, still managed to exceed seasonal expectations.
Along with Jardim, though, arrived an encouraging batch of youngsters. The Brazilian defensive duo of Fabinho and Wallace followed Jardim’s path from Portugal to the principality, while Tiemoue Bakayoko, from Rennes, and Aymen Abdennour, from Toulouse, migrated south from their respective sides in France’s top-flight.
All have, to varying degrees, proved astute business, but one name in particular, 20-year-old Bernardo Silva, has shone. So much so that after six months of action, Monaco made his loan-deal permanent during the January transfer window.
Superficially, the reported fee of €15.75 seemed excessive, but if one digs a little deeper, it may not be long until the 15 million, and a little more, are deposited back into the club’s transfer kitty.
After a fruitful baptism in the south of France, netting nine times and assisting thrice, he has jetted out to the Czech Republic to join his Portuguese U21 cohorts in their European Championship travails.
The 20-year-old remained an ever-present in Rui Jorge’s side during the qualifying phase — scoring a memorable solo-goal against Israel — and his side have been tipped by many to go the distance.
If they are to meet expectations, and Silva continues to exude the effervescent talent he has shown in the opening two group games, the likelihood of the Benfica B graduate being subject to a lavish move away from Monaco would stand very high.
Monaco’s recent success on the continental front have made them an alluring prospect for starlets of Silva’s ilk. Indeed, the side from the principality managed to knockout Arsenal en route to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where it took a dubious penalty decision against Juventus for Monaco’s fairytale journey to come to a halt.
Jardim was hailed for his defensive parsimony throughout, topping Group C scoring just four goals but conceding only once. The decisive group-game in Leverkusen, where Lucas Ocampos’ second-half strike ensured Monaco’s progression, encapsulated the defensive solidity.
Additionally, the attraction of the city has allowed Monaco to capture signatures ahead of other suitors. Although it is assumed that many players cherish the pressures of showcasing their talent infront of thousands each week, Monaco’s stadium, the Stade Louis II, offers the opposite.
Rarely, European fixtures aside, does the Stade Louis II sell-out, leaving a sparsely populated arena which allows younger, less established individuals to hone their skills without the burden of 50,000 zealous supporters.
19-year-old Anthony Martial, who was forced out of the door at Lyon due to cost-cutting measures, has certainly benefited from his move down south. He has blossomed into a fine attacking talent during the second part of the campaign, and it is widely expected that the Frenchmen will fetch the Monegasque side a colossal fee in the near future.
But it has been Yannick Ferreira Carrasco who has burgeoned under the tutelage of Jardim. Perhaps Monaco’s most consistent assailant, the Belgian has benefited from the settled reargued that helped Monaco embark on their remarkable stretch of successive clean-sheets after Christmas.
It was his touch and finish against Lorient on the final day of the campaign which ensured of Champions League football in Monaco for the second successive season (though they will have to navigate their way through a tricky qualifying round beforehand).
Solidifying a top-three finish amid mass emigration the previous summer has solidified Monaco’s status as bona fide Champions League regulars. With this, of course, arrives a certain appeal.
Monaco supporters may be hit with a strong sense of deja vu this forthcoming transfer window, but they will take solace in the fact that their club have shown that they are able to benefit from considerable exits.