We’ve seen it before with the dramatic transformations of Chelsea and Manchester City, but the prospective ascent of Ligue 2 champions AS Monaco is a touch different - and certainly deserves attention.
Arriving in December 2011, affluent chairman Dmitry Rybolovlev brought with him a forthcoming era of big spending and potential success.
To underline their sudden upswing in financial might, £20 million-man Shabani Nonda was once the most expensive Monaco player ever following his capture back in 2000.
Courtesy of their new Russian billionaire friend, this record figure tripled to €60 million as Monaco pinched Atlético Madrid striker Radamel Falcao from right under the noses of fellow transfer market heavyweights Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
So, to showcase the significance of AS Monaco and their handsome new bank balance, here is an all-star XI consisting of players rumoured to be on Dmitry Rybolovlev’s glitzy shopping list:
Goalkeeper | Steve Mandanda | Marseille
Amidst a lack of mutual interest from Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina, Rybolovlev is rumoured to believe the 28-year-old is a capable third-option in his quest to sign a top-class goalkeeper. As he approaches the prime of his football career, Mandanda would reportedly attract a fee of around €15 million.
Right-back | Dani Alves | Barcelona
A plausibly realistic target , Alves could shift to greener pastures before he is faced with restricted game time once the latest fleet of ‘La Masia’ graduates ease into the first-team. Ever-willing to bomb forward and support the attack, Alves is still a formidable attacking weapon despite his notorious defensive fragility.
Centre-back | Branislav Ivánovic | Chelsea
The powerful Serbian international is supposedly wanted by Monaco after being rebuffed by Manchester City following their interest in Vincent Kompany. A physically dominant centre-back, Ivánovic could form a partnership of contrasting styles with the more tactical Ricardo Carvalho - reminiscent of the Portguese and John Terry during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Centre-back | Ricardo Carvalho | AS Monaco
One of four done deals in this all-star XI, Ricardo Carvalho has officially joined the Monaco revolution from Real Madrid on a one-year contract. The 35-year-old is keen to re-link with former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri and looks forward to playing his part in “a new adventure” at Stade Louis II.
Left-back | Benoit Assou-Ekotto | Tottenham Hotspur
Andre Villas-Boas and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy reportedly gave Assou-Ekotto the all clear to leave White Hart Line - eyeing Real Madrid fullback Fabio Coentrao as his replacement. Monaco is rumoured to be the preferred destination of the Cameroon international – if his club chairman allows him to exit.
Holding-midfield | João Moutinho | AS Monaco
Arriving in France with James Rodriguez as part of a €60 million package deal from Porto, the 26-year-old could go down as one of the key signings if Monaco fulfil their growing potential.
Centre-midfield | Yohan Cabaye | Newcastle United
A beautiful player to watch manipulate the ball, Yohan Cabaye would complete an enticing midfield partnership with Monaco new-boy Moutinho - and reports imply that Rybyolovlev agrees. After enduring a poor campaign with Newcastle last season, could the former Lille player be tempted into a lucrative return to France?
Centre-midfield | Claudio Marchisio | Juventus
After capturing the talented trio of Falcao, Moutinho and Rodriguez, Monaco has emerged as a possible future employer of the highly rated Italy international. Manchester United is another club allegedly vying for his signature, but the growing of presence of generously paid stars at Stade Louis II could attract the Juventus star.
Right-midfield | Angel Di Maria | Real Madrid
Rybolovlev is reportedly on the hunt for a wide-man, and the Argentinian certainly fits the bill as one of the finest wingers in Europe. The interest from Monaco is certainly not being ignored, as Di Maria’s agent has indicated that a €30 million bid is in the pipeline.
Left-midfield | James Rodriguez | AS Monaco
At just 21-years-old, the Colombian’s recent switch to Monaco is unlikely to be the last move of his career. Nevertheless, the former Porto starlet should relish another key role at his new club.
Striker | Radamel Falcao | AS Monaco
Rybolovlev’s greatest coup for ‘Les Rouge et Blanc’ yet. The Colombian striker may have regressed in terms of his career path, but the former Porto striker is likely to gain most of the plaudits if the Monaco revolution goes according to plan over the coming years.
Do you think Monaco can qualify for the Champions League this year? Share your predictions in the comments below!
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