How Monaco can cope following their wealth of departures

Josh Challies

Monaco were the talk of the town last season after their Ligue 1 success and march to the Champions League semi-finals but their super-squad has been disassembled since.

The exits of Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko have caught the headlines, as well as the constant speculation concerning the future of Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar, but the French principality side have lost more than that.

Valere Germain, Abdou Diallo, Corentin Jean and Nabil Dirar have also left Monaco this summer, taking the total number of departures to seven. Thankfully, though, Leonardo Jardim’s side have also been busy in recruitment and have signed six new players.

All of the new recruits seem braced to go straight into the first-team fold, excluding Jordy Gaspar who has been sent on loan to Club Brugge, and the biggest additions look set to be Youri Tielemans, Soualiho Meite and Jordi Mboula, who could find themselves with big shoes to fill.

Tielemans will likely partner Joao Moutinho in the heart of midfield with Meite, a £6.8million recruit from Zulte Waregem, filling the void left by Tiemoue Bakayoko’s transfer to Chelsea earlier this month. That midfield trio will be crucial for the forthcoming campaign, as they’ll stand as the link between defence and attack. Of course, there’s still Fabinho to think about- should he stay.

Defensively the loss of Benjamin Mendy will hit hard but Monaco have promoted from within, promoting 19-year-old Julien Serrano from the B team, but the teenager will likely stand as back-up behind Brazilian Jorge, who was signed last summer.

Terence Kongolo will slot in to the heart of Monaco’s back-line, partnering Kamil Glik, and Djibril Sidibe will complete the line-up on the left. He was one of many players linked with an exit this summer but keeping him amongst the squad is a huge victory for Jardim’s side.

The biggest boots to fill in attack will be Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar, should the pair leave, but Monaco have done well to ensure they have players ready to step-up. Not only are they ready to take the mantle this season but they could develop further in the coming years.

21-year-old Gabriel Boschilia and 20-year-old Gil Bastiao Dias will fight for playing time on the right, whilst new signing Jordi Mboula, signed from Barcelona’s B team, will battle for a spot on the left with 21-year-old Rony Lopes and 20-year-old Allan Saint-Maximin. Even without Lemar and Mbappe, Monaco boast significant depth out-wide.

A lot of pressure will be on the shoulders of Radamel Falcao, who has rekindled the best of his form since returning to Ligue 1 following two failed campaigns in the Premier League, but Guido Carillo and Adama Traore will provide competition for the attacking spot.

With Paris Saint-Germain bolstering their side significantly this summer and Marseille ready to invest following their takeover last year, Monaco face a stern test to defend their Ligue 1 title but Jardim deserves credit for the work he’s done.

Monaco have largely stuck to their model of selling high and buying young players for lesser fees but they’ve also shown they’re capable of spending big when necessary, splashing £21.25m on Tielemans and £12.75m on Kongolo.

Both are under the age of 23 though and should have years of success ahead of them with Monaco, who continue to boast some of the finest young talents in European football. Coping with their monumental losses this summer was always set to be a difficult task but Monaco have come out fighting, ready for the return of Ligue 1 action this Friday against Toulouse.

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