Martial, Mendy & Mbappe: How Monaco became Europe’s talent factory Monaco celebrated their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years in 2017, finishing eight points ahead of title rivals Paris St-Germain
They have small crowds and their stadium is built on a car park. Yet Monaco continually produce some of the most coveted footballers in the world.
The French champions have banked 173.5m euros (£155m) so far this summer by selling their top talents and might yet add to that tally.
Prodigious 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe has been linked with a world record £160m move to Real Madrid
and 21-year-old winger Thomas Lemar continues to be talked about as a £45m target for Arsenal.
But what are the secrets of Monaco’s success in rearing, selling and – most importantly – replacing players?
Buying their way to success
Monaco did not always adhere to this simple business plan.
When Russian billionaire and Monaco resident Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the club for one euro in December 2012, he had other things in mind. At the time, they were second from bottom of France’s second tier and the oligarch was ready to spend heavily – first, to win promotion back to Ligue 1 and then to try to compete with Paris St-Germain.
For that, he had to spend a lot. In the summer of 2013, Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, was bought for around 60m euros (then the equivalent of £50m) from Atletico Madrid and a fee of 70m euros (£60m) secured Porto’s James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho.
It worked, at least at the beginning, as the ‘rouges et blancs’ kept pace with a star-studded PSG team led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
However, it quickly appeared that such huge spending was not viable for a club with an average home attendance of around 9,000, low television broadcast revenues and small sponsorship deals.
Monaco were spending far more than they were earning. It was impossible for them to comply with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
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