The transfer window slammed shut on Tuesday, with no players coming through the door at AS Monaco, whilst outgoings have also been sparse.
It has been an atypically quiet January transfer window for Les Monégasques, who didn’t add to their existing group before the deadline on Tuesday evening. It is the first time that the Principality club haven’t recruited during the winter window since the 2004/05 season. Benoît Badiashile is the highest profile exit during this window, whilst there were further departures before the closure of the market.
Félix Lemarechal from Monaco to Brest
The young French midfielder, who captains the club’s Groupe Elite, is set to gain first-team, top-division experience at Ligue 1 rivals Brest. The player was absent from training on Monday ahead of a six-month loan deal to the club. The player is part of the long-term planning at Monaco, and the deal therefore doesn’t include an option to make the loan permanent. The deal was officialised on deadline day.
Coveted but staying
Jean Lucas linked by Foot Mercato to Espanyol, Troyes and Besiktas
The Brazilian midfielder has fallen down the pecking order at the Principality club and had been linked with a move before Tuesday’s deadline. However, none of the proposals matched Monaco’s expectations. The club wanted to sell the player, but all of the interested parties insisted on a loan. Espanyol’s loan offer included a purchase option of over €5 million, unlike the other two proposals, which were simple loans.
Maghnes Akliouche linked by L’Équipe to Rennes
The academy product had been linked with a departure throughout the window, and even during last summer. Lille have long been touted as a potential destination, but Stade Rennais also entered the fray. According to L’Équipe, the Breton club made a €6 million offer to acquire the attacking midfielder, who has a contract that runs until 2024. Rennes then upped their offer just before deadline day to €10m, but that proposal received a similar response. Monaco Life understands that the Principality club had no intention of letting Akliouche leave the club during the window, and he still forms part of the long-term vision of the club.
Sambi Lokonga linked by Foot Mercato to Monaco
The Arsenal midfielder has found game time hard to come by since his arrival from Belgium. Monaco, who see the midfield as a potential department for improvement, have considered the player this window. Foot Mercato have gone so far as to say that a bid was lodged. The French publication reports that that bid was rejected. Ultimately, Lokonga did move, but to Premier League rivals Crystal Palace on loan.
Abakar Sylla linked by L’Équipe to Monaco
Since Badiashile’s departure to Chelsea earlier in January, Les Monégasques have been scouting the market for a potential replacement. Sylla, who plays his club football at Philippe Clement’s former club, Club Brugge, was reportedly a name on the shortlist. Strong performances from Guillermo Maripán, as well as a return to a back four made the recruitment of a centre-back less of a pressing issue than it perhaps was at the beginning of the season. Monaco Life can confirm Monaco’s interest in the centre-back, however, Club Brugge’s demands were ultimately too high, which brought an end to discussions over a January move.
Chrislain Matsima from Lorient to Monaco
Matsima joined Lorient on loan at the start of the season. However, the Monaco centre-back has only made seven starts for Les Merlus and has struggled to dislodge an established centre-back partnership. His return to the Principality club was announced on deadline day. With the club failing to land main target Sylla, Monaco saw a need to add numbers at the back, and have therefore taken the option of repatriating Matsima. He will add depth and numerically compensate for Badiashile’s departure earlier in the window.
Ultimately, Monaco’s decision not to recruit this winter was born out of a profound reflection of the impact of a player’s arrival. Whilst there were targets, it became clear that deals, particularly for Sylla, would be difficult.
Without the chance to recruit their primary targets, the club weren’t keen to panic buy and add to the squad for the sake of it. Les Monégasques currently have a functional and harmonious dressing room, and the club didn’t want to jeopardise that.
There is also the question of giving youth the chance. Should a player have been brought in, he would have been signed to compete for a starting spot, which would have potentially blocked the path of an aspiring academy product. The development and integration of youth players into the first team is a major objective at the club.
Photo by Monaco Life