Monaco: Are They Helping Ligue 1 Develop?

It is no longer a surprise move if Radamel Falcao decided to move to recently promoted Ligue 1 side AS Monaco after FC Porto duo Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez joined for a combined fee of 70 million Euros. Following success stories from oil-pumped clubs such as Chelsea, Malaga, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, it seems that AS Monaco have joined the club.

Billionaire Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, ranked 66th on the world’s richest men, has bought two thirds of AS Monaco. At that time, Monaco had just finished in 18th position in Ligue 1 and dropped down to the French second division. The club appointed Italian tinker-man Claudio Ranieri to lead the team in the 2012-2013 season as they hoped to achieve promotion back to the topflight. Despite not being a French team, Monaco have won the French league seven times and the French Cup five times with the most recent league success dating back to the year 2000.

Monaco is a smart choice for any investor as Monaco is not under French governing thus any player playing for Monaco could almost get his full wages while a player playing for any other French club might need to give up half of his salary in taxes. Thus, any club wishing to compete with Monaco should provide its player more than twice the salary Monaco are offering and yet the latter seem to be the richer side. French Football Federation has tried to force Monaco into paying 200 million Euros for participation in Ligue 1. However, the red and white club threatened of moving to Serie A if France decides to force them into paying huge sums. French Football Federation has tried forcing the Monegasque club to move to French Municipality, so that they would pay the same taxes as the rest of Ligue 1 teams. The law is on Monaco’s side until now and any decision to force them into moving elsewhere or paying extra amounts of money cannot be made unless the club itself agrees to it. Monaco thus are enjoying the luxury of financial terms.

With money being no obstacle, Claudio Ranieri directly moved to bolster his squad with top quality names signing Danish international Jakub Poulsen and Swedish international Emir Bajrami as well as a few other locally known players like  Delvin Ndinga who costed them three million Euros from Auxerre and Sebastian Ribas (former Ligue 2 topscorer). However, neither of those names was the signing that signified Monaco’s clear intentions of returning to topflight; it was Argentine youngster Lucas Ocampos signed from River Plate for a staggering fee of 16 million Euros. It was a move that puzzled major European clubs as Manchester City and Roma were among the teams competing for his signature yet it was Monaco who came up with the huge fee.Those signings ensured the club drove safely back to the France’s top 20 teams.

The financial impact on PSG and AS Monaco speaks volumes, the former team may remain favorites to win the title ahead of next season, but with Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez already on the team many more could be attracted in the coming years, the red and white club may soon be PSG’s only competitor leading to a Ligue 1 similar to La Liga in style where the throne is battled for by two clubs as the remaining 18 fight for whatever else is there for the taking.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that Ligue 1 will lose its appeal. As a matter of fact, Ligue 1’s appeal was almost negligible when compared to other leagues, now more games will be broadcasted on European and international televisions thus bringing in more money for all 20 French Clubs. Also, many young French talents will find it more appealing to stay in their home country than to go elsewhere (Italy and England in specific) thus forcing all clubs to put more effort not only on the pitch but financially as well. Those two clubs are likely to attract investments in other French teams as the league looks to build its status.

Monaco’s revival certainly brings more good than bad to the French image though the question remains can they compete on European level with the world’s giants?

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