Paris Saint-Germain have a new contender in the Ligue-1-club-spending-implausible-amounts-of-money sweepstakes. Monaco are about to wrap up deals for Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez -- which will cost them well north of 100 million in transfer fees alone topped by a wage burden that'll probably push their total spend closer to 200 million -- and now they're apparently looking for some defenders. High on their list, claims the Daily Mail, is Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
It's easy to craft a story of new-money bogeymen. After all, the Blues were the villains in that narrative ten years ago. Why shouldn't we be afraid of our players leaving when there's a new power flexing its muscles?
Mostly because it's silly. Money matters, obviously, but it only comes into play when there's an opening. PSG were able to acquire Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from AC Milan because the Rossoneri needed the cash injection, but other than those two it's difficult to cite examples of a top-tier club selling star players to the nouveau-riche. Instead, they prey on sides like Porto and Atletico Madrid, hoovering up stars from the mid-level club who can't compete financially.
Chelsea are firmly entrenched as a major European power. Monaco are not -- at best, assuming they can find a way to circumvent Financial Fair Play*, they'll be playing Champions League football in 2014/15. As it stands, all they can offer Ivanovic and Chelsea is a wad of cash. And the Blues are hardly hurting for funds.
*Presumably via a legal challenge.
It's difficult to see Ivanovic wanting to leave Stamford Bridge. He plays regularly for one of England's top sides, wins trophies, makes lots of money and has a not-unreasonable chance of ending up as the Blues' next captain. Even if he was tempted, the defender's under contract until the summer of 2016, having signed a new deal two years ago. That means he has three full seasons left, leaving Chelsea in an enormous position of strength.
How do Monaco force a sale? They can't. The Luka Modric saga demonstrated just how difficult it can be to pry away a player on a long-term deal when a club's not interested in selling. Hostile bids on star players from smaller teams, no matter how rich they are, simply aren't something we should be worrying about. If Chelsea want Ivanovic to stay, he will stay. If they don't, that's a different story. Guess which one is more likely?