3 Players Monaco Should Look To Sign This Summer
In the past year, AS Monaco have captured the imagination of the footballing world by relying on their free-flowing attacking style of play, and emphasis on youth development to lead them to the French league title and a Champions League semifinal.
The likes of Bernardo Silva, Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy and Tiémoué Bakayoko have all carved a niche for themselves as world-beaters, and have been the fulcrum of this over-achieving team. However, for manager Leonardo Jardim, the hard work starts in earnest now, as Monaco look to tie down their existing stars and look to replace other ones. Here are three players that Les Monégasques should look to sign.
Bernardo Silva was one of Monaco's best attacking players in the season gone by, and his departure to Manchester City will certainly have come as a huge blow to Monaco. However, the €49.3 million generated from his sale could be put to good use-to sign a worthy replacement, and Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez would fit the bill.
Mahrez was part of Leicester City's holy triumvirate, alongside Jamie Vardy and N'golo Kanté that led the Foxes to a shock English Premier League triumph in 2016. However, just as Leicester's fortunes have changed for the worse this term, Mahrez's form has dipped as well. Even so, his numbers are still very similar to Monaco's Portuguese wizard. Silva may have more goals and assists, understandable in a Monaco side which is among the highest scorers across Europe, but Mahrez attempts 2.1 shots per game to Silva's 1.6, and averages 0.3 more successful dribbles per game, while at the same time winning more free-kicks and being dispossessed less often. His defensive work rate is very similar to Silva's, so Monaco would not necessarily miss out there either.
The Algerian star also has the experience of having played in France before, with Le Havre, and has the experience of playing in a 4-4-2 system at Leicester, which Jardim employs with his Monaco side. It has also been reported that he has handed in a transfer request, which would provide Monaco with a massive boost if they choose to pursue him. At the age of 26, he is likely hit his peak in the next couple of years, and could certainly soften the blow of losing Silva.
Monaco have already lost Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, and there are whispers of the English club being interested in left back Benjamin Mendy as well. However, Monaco fans need not fear, as a ready-made replacement could be available in the form of Valencia defender José Luis Gaya.
Over the past couple of seasons, Valencia has been a club in turmoil, with disappointing campaigns and manager merry-go-rounds leaving the club in a poor state of affairs. However, in the midst of it all, José Gaya has been the team's shining light,consistently churning out good performances despite his teammates' lack of them. It reveals much about his character that, at the tender age of 22, he is able to shut out the distractions and focus om his football. He would be an ideal Jardim signing, fitting into the ethos of Monaco's young brigade. In comparison to Mendy, Gaya averages more tackles and less fouls, and is dribbled past less than the Frenchman. Signing him also ensures that Monaco's game going forward will not suffer, as Gaya's numbers are almost identical in terms of key passes and dribbles, while he is far better than Mendy at keeping hold of the ball as well.
The Spaniard is valued by German website Transfermarkt at €18 million, so Monaco should be able to afford him, even at a higher price. With Valencia on the decline and Monaco in the ascendancy, Gaya could well be tempted to make the move. In addition, consistent Champions League football is on offer at the principality club, which could finally get the deal over the line.
This one is a bit of a left-field shout, but a gamble which could prove to work out for Monaco. In terms of urgency, it may not be too high on the priority list, but more of a long-term plan. With Radamel Falcao at the age of 31, his career may be on the decline, and Monaco would require a replacement.
Mattia Destro has shown, in flashes, over the past few years, that he is a player with massive potential. Under Jardim, this potential could be fully unlocked, as he develops alongside other supreme talents like Kylian Mbappé, Fabinho and Thomas Lemar. He had a very decent goalscoring record for Roma before he was shunted on loan to Milan and subsequently offloaded to Bologna in 2015. His record of 19 goals in 55 games for the Serie A side is not the best, but with better support at Monaco behind him, he would certainly thrive. He could provide the extra bit of pace that has recently deserted Falcao, and a partnership with another exceedingly quick player in Mbappé could have Ligue 1 defenders quaking in their boots.
Valued at just €8 million, Destro could be a steal for Monaco and will certainly add quality depth to the side before establishing himself in the first team in the future.