With France’s World Cup qualification hopes now dangling by a thread, a potential elimination may see a fully-fledged public inquest into French football. Regardless of
whether France qualifies for the World Cup or not, Monaco may provide a cause
for optimism, should they follow the route that PSG chose not too.
Arguably one of the biggest let-downs amongst all the PSG big-money transfers has been the
lack of local players snapped up by the Parisians. Year after year, player after player, French footballers are lured away by clubs from the so-called bigger leagues.
With PSG’s wealth, the opportunity existed to minimise the exodus and build a team with a strong local core reminiscent of the ones seen at Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich respectively.
Historically Germany and Italy have done well when Bayern Munich and Juventus are at their best. Spain’s golden era, both at senior and youth level, has coincided with Barcelona’s successes under Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guradiola and Tito Vilanova, with La Masia churning
out star after star, year after year.
Supporters of all three clubs are often quick to point out the contributions they make to the three most successful European national teams of all-time. In PSG, France had a rare chance to build something similar.
PSG aren’t and probably won’t be well liked outside of Paris despite the fact they represent France’s best chance of a Champions League crown since Marseille back in 1993. PSG had the opportunity to build a core of local players and become a symbol of French football.
Whilst the qualities of Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic cannot be disputed, a couple of other signings have yet to fully convince in the French capital, while the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara and Yoan Gouffran have all left French shores to settle for lower to mid-table mediocrity in England.
Had PSG fended off Arsenal for Olivier Giroud, it would have been a great PR vctory and
signal of intent by keeping a hot commodity striker in Ligue 1. Had PSG had the vision that Beppe Marotta had in signing Paul Pogba on a free transfer in the summer of 2012, the novelty of bringing home a star of the future would have won the approval of many.
Enter Monaco. The new-generation of “money-clubs” will never gain the universal approval of footballing purists, nor will anyone who signs for them over a traditional powerhouse from Spain, Italy, Germany or England.
Monaco were rescued from the doldrums by Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2011. From the bottom of the French second-tier to Champions League dreamers in the space of two years, with
a team that now boasts some of the top names in the business like Rademel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho.
Monaco must capitalize where PSG have not. The next crop of signings must be the top French players in Ligue 1 and especially, the players from the French U-20 side that
won the World Cup earlier this year.
A team built on local players will gain national respect and more public approval than team
of Serie A all-stars. They will represent national identity and all that is pure about French football.
Clubs like Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have shown that Monaco have an opportunity to build trophy winning teams that represent a balance of local players, international superstars and foreign players always who give 100 percent for those clubs, like Arturo Vidal and Leo Messi do at Juventus and Barcelona respectively.
It is worth reminding ourselves that at their peak the Monaco youth academy churned out young starlets like Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Eric Abidal, Lilian Thuram.
They never had the wealth they do now, so should their academy churn-out another starlet like the above-mentioned legends, Monaco will have no problem keeping their diamonds in the rough.
Balance the home-grown jewels with top French players, top international stars and Monaco have the opportunity to become French football’s Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Juventus – the greatest football irony given that the club aren’t even situated on French soil!
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