Despite only being a week into the summer transfer window at the time of writing, the respective strategies that Ligue 1’s two richest clubs are looking to deploy in order to improve their squads look entirely different. After their ascension from Ligue 2 in May, Monaco’s aggressive transfer policy became apparent. Vadim Vasilyev, Monaco’s Sporting Director director recently admitted on TF1 that talks had been ongoing with Falcao long before the 2012/2013 season reached its conclusion. However, the day to day speculation by the world’s football media linking anyone who’s anyone with Monaco on a daily basis has certainly been good publicity for Ligue 1. There is no doubt that Monaco had been working on persuading Falcao to join them for a number of months.
Their strategy seemed apparent, and it may well be one that succeeds this summer. Falcao is a huge signing by any means and although Monaco are refusing to divulge exactly how much the Colombian cost them, it can not have been less than €55m. Monaco put all their time and effort into signing Falcao because they felt this would create a sort of ‘domino effect’. The thought process went something like this: The first signing may be difficult, but if we can achieve that then ever other new signing will fall one by one. Pushing Falcao’s theoretical domino into those of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho is, they hope, the hardest part of building a brilliant team for next season. Manager Claudio Ranieri admitted this himself: ‘Falcao is a great signing and it could enable other big players to sign too.’
The question is, will this work? To date, Monaco have also secured the signatures of experienced centre-back Ricardo Carvalho on a free transfer and of promising defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. Arguably, both of those players would have signed for Monaco regardless of the arrivals of Falcao, Moutinho and Rodriguez. The pulling power of those 3 remains to be seen, but whether or not those 3 make it an attractive enough proposition for seasoned, world-class professionals to leave their Champions League-playing clubs is another matter. Either way, Monaco have made an undeniably brilliant start to this summer’s recruitment.
In the capital, the strategy seems to be quite different. 2012-2013 was a breakthrough season for Les Parisiens, becoming Ligue 1 champions and completing an impressive Champions League campaign in the meantime. However, unsavoury incidents at the Trocadero, sporting director Leonardo’s 9 month ban for accosting a referee and Carlo Ancelotti’s open desire to leave the club have some what sullied the mood. Perhaps the lack of clarity as to who will take the managerial reins next season have something to do with the fact that PSG have yet to really flex their superior muscles when it comes to spending, but one can also see a potentially more astute recruitment policy starting to become apparent.
PSG at the time of writing are in discussions about the transfer of Lucas Digne, a French, talented left-back who has the potential to become France’s number 1 in that position years to come. This is a summer where PSG will not be spending crazy money. Instead they will cautiously and intelligently make their move on certain players they can sign for a more than reasonable price (Lille have a €15m price-tag on Digne’s head, in other words an absolute steal). Whilst Monaco scratch at any opportunity to sign a ‘top’ player that comes their way, PSG are in the luxurious position of already having a squad packed with quality.
PSG are looking to the future to make sure they have the last laugh in year’s to come, the chess-masters. Monaco hope that signing of Falcao attracts others, the domino effect. PSG are without doubt in the better position, regardless of who becomes manager next season.
Charles Stone, Get French Football News.