Welcome to the Summer of Monaco! AS Monaco, the football team, that is, for it's always summer in the Principality on the French Riviera itself.
The once great club, which enjoyed tremendous success around the turn of the millenium, had recently fallen on harsh times. Relegated to Ligue 2, their fortunes were ... fertilized ... by Russian potash magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev. They'll be back in the French top tier under in this coming season and they've been reinforcing the squad for ex-Chelsea tinker-man Claudio Ranieri as it were the good ol' days, back when the only thing FFP stood for was "fresh frozen plasma."
They have spent well over €100 million already on the impressive trio of oft-rumored Chelsea target Falcao, occasionally-rumored Chelsea target Joao Moutinho, and wishfully-rumored Chelsea target James Rodgriguez. And it seems that they are not yet done.
There's no doubt that either Falcao or Moutinho would've been fantastic signings for Chelsea, so perhaps we should be a bit miffed at our Russian-oligarch-play-toys-in-arms. But if recent rumors are true, perhaps we should actually be grateful. It seems that Monaco might just save Chelsea from two, very costly overpays.
First, it's Hulk. Linking the Brazilian forward to Chelsea has become a transfer window staple recently and this year has been no different. Alas, with a cool name comes a cool price tag: £35m to be exact, which strikes most as outrageous. But that's just pocket change for Rybolovlev and late last week we saw reports in France and Spain about Monaco willing to pay €45m for him.
French newspaper 'L'Equipe' echoed the interest shown by Russian oligarch and owner of Monaco, Dmitri Ribolovlev, in Zenit's Brazilian forward, Hulk.
Hulk would welcome the transfer as he is not happy in Russia after leaving Porto.
DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!
Second, it's Nemanja Matic. The one other thing Matic has in common with Hulk besides impressive physical attributes is an outrageous transfer fee. Benfica aren't willing to let him go for anything less than his buyout clause, which is at least €45m, if not more. Fortunately that's just pocket change for Rybolovlev and this weekend there have been reports in Portugal about Monaco willing to pay the buyout.
A switch to Monaco has emerged as a possible option for Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic after officials from the French club visited Portugal for discussions with the Lisbon side’s president Luis Felipe Vieira.
Benfica are determined that [the buyout clause] should be stuck to, with the player not departing for a penny less.
-Source: Correio de Manha via Inside Futbol
DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!
(Or it could all just be the usual "link all big name transfer targets with all the richest clubs" deal...)