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Vadim Vasilyev in extensive L’Équipe interview on Arsenal, the project and more

AS Monaco Vice President Vadim Vasilyev spoke to our colleagues at L’Équipe about the Monaco project as it stands and ASM’s hotly awaited clash with Arsenal on Wednesday.

On the Arsenal game…

“I’m excited. Arsenal are favourites, but it is a special occasion. There is a history between the two clubs: Arsène Wenger, Thierry Henry… We had a successful match at the Emirates this summer (in the Emirates Cup). We have already reached our objective, we have nothing to lose.”

On the benefits of being in the Champions League knockout stages…

“Yes, this is an opportunity for us to put our project forward. We have the youngest team in the knockout round, at about 24, we want to show that we have excellent youngsters, that our team is fearless, and is able to rise to the high standards that will be demanded of us. We want to show that the project is not dead, as some wanted us all to believe at the beginning of the season. The fact that we are here shows that our project remains alive, that our strategy is the just. After that, it is Arsenal who are under pressure, it is Arsenal who have failed to get past the final eight in recent times.”

On AS Monaco’s season thus far…

“Basically, yes, it can already be seen as successful. It is however hard to get excited about the type of football that Monaco plays. It is difficult to reach the same level from one game to the next. e could have a more exciting playing style, score more goals. We are all aware that there are things to improve, but the aim, is to reach the Ligue 1 podium and to try and win a trophy.”

On Leonardo Jardim…

“We said that we wanted attacking football, but the priority is the project. And he is following the project. The club wants to give the youth a chance and the coach is on board with the project. Ranieri was more independent. It is important to have a manager who is ambitious whilst integrating himself into the long-term project. When we started to discuss (replacing Ranieri), we were not looking at the big names. And it was possible that players would leave, but it is true that they were not replaced with the quality we wanted to at the start.”

“That said, if we had not had a bad start to the season, we would probably be today in the top 2 or top 3. We are not there right now for several reasons and within those is Jardim’s period of adaptation to French football and his players, that took longer than expected. It is not because we are missing one or two players. This team has all the qualities to reach the podium. Jardim has the team to do that. He will be here for sure (next season). “

The season after?

“There is an option, but it is too early to talk about it. But with the players and the staff that we have, I am convinced that we will be even better next season.”

On Jérémy Toulalan…

“I hope (he extends). He is essential for our team. We have made him an offer, the ball is in his camp.”

On possibly losing Kurzawa, Ferreira-Carrasco, Martial…

“We will keep a squad that enables us to reach the podium. After that, we cannot keep everyone, that is normal. The departure of James Rodriguez was not expected, but a really high offer was made (€80m). I am pragmatic. But one or two changes don’t change the project.”

On Falcao’s importance for the next transfer window…

“It will be a very important element, but I am not worried about him. We have received interest from other big clubs, as we await Manchester United’s decision (whether or not to activate the €55m buy-out option). If we still had him we would be challenging at the top of the table. He started the season well and we are missing some efficiency upfront. But hey, that’s the way it goes. I am not worried for him or for us. For fair-play obviously, the less we spend, the better. It is important not to have big salaries.”

On Bernardo Silva’s permanent signing for €15.75m…

“We maybe paid a little more than the market price, but only the future will tell us (if we were right about this). We thought about it a lot and spoke to the President about it. It is a strategic decision. We feel that with his technical quality, his mentality, the way in which he has integrated himself, he will be a top player in two or three years. He is a bit like James, he is progressing a lot and is already important for our game.”

On making Fabinho’s deal permanent…

“We are discussing it and we will get there. We are in front for this one. When he came here, nobody knew him and he is now a starter for us.”

On the decision to loan Lucas Ocampos to Marseille…

“He was a substitute here and we needed to find a solution for him. If we finish third ahead of Marseille (the buy-out option will not be activated), we will take back a player who is full of confidence after playing for 5 months when before he wasn’t playing for us. It is a win-win. We cannot keep a player who, in his head, was already out the door, on the premise that we don’t want to strengthen a rival.”

What happens if you don’t get Champions League next season…

“Yes (it would be serious), but that could happen and the coach will stay the same. On Thursday we had lunch (Jardim and Vasilyev) and he told me yes (that he wants to stay). He likes the Principality, his family does too.”

 

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