Vice president of AS Monaco Vadim Vasilyev spoke extensively on the winter transfer window which will shut on Wednesday evening in an interview with RMC last night. Most notably, he confirmed that the French international midfielder Thomas Lemar would remain a Monaco player till the end of the season.
Vadim, we assume that you’re satisfied with the Monaco performance against Marseille on Sunday evening (2-2)…
Yes I’m very positive for the future. I am very happy that Fabinho has rediscovered his form. The whole team played with determination and desire. I feel confident going forward.
Is the Coupe de la Ligue your priority?
We have two objectives: qualification for the Champions League and playing the Coupe de la Ligue final.
Is the technical staff concerned about Falcao’s rough patch?
Not at all. The coach, the staff and I, know that Falco is a top level striker. They are not machines. Look at Cristiano Ronaldo. Every season, people say he’s declining, yet he continues to score exceptional goals and win the Ballon d’Or. Falcao is a world class player and a real captain of our team.
Do you regret not letting Fabinho or Lemar go in light on the season?
No, I have no regrets. When I take a decision, I assess the risks and consequences. The consequences would have been worse if they had left. Now, I see that they are coming back. They will be very important for the second half of the season. If both had left, it would have impacted the team negatively, and maybe, we wouldn’t even be competing for the top spots.
Can you 100% guarantee that Thomas Lemar will stay at Monaco till the end of the season?
If an offer from Arsenal or Liverpool comes, will you turn it down?
It is not on the agenda. We will say no because the objectives are clear. Without important players like Lemar, we will not manage.
Are you looking for a striker between now and the end of the winter transfer window?
Yes. As of yet, we haven’t found the best value for money deal because the market is so crazy. I do not want to do anything stupid.
Tell us about the young 16 year old striker you just recruited, Pietro Pellegri…
He is a promising talent in European football. I can confirm. It’s a great pride for us because it is a sign that AS Monaco can attract top European talents. We competed fiercely for him till the last minute. It wasn’t the money which decided it for me, but the player and his entourage.
We have shown here that youngsters can succeed then sign for the biggest clubs in the world. It’s one of the strengths of our project. People say we transfer players and that it’s all about money. No, there is also the football. If you never let players leave, others will not join. The stories of Martial and Mbappé makes youngsters dream. And they will choose Monaco.
We’re talking about €25m for a 16 year old.
Only the Italians have been saying that. It’s less, but it’s still a significant fee, I can confirm that.
Following his arrival to PSG, Mbappé spoke about an event which forced him to leave Monaco. Which event is he alluding to?
I have no idea. There were so many events… If one day, he wants to talk about it, he’s free to do so.
Other clubs were interested. Did you have an agreement with Real Madrid?
Yes Real Madrid was interested. Other clubs were too. Kylian had talks with other clubs, not only PSG. We agreed for him to discuss with other clubs. This was a transparent discussion.
Wouldn’t your priority be to not strengthen a direct rival, and rather send him to Real Madrid?
I was always clear and I do not hide it. If I had the choice to not strengthen a direct rical, it would have been better for us. But I respected Kylian, as a player, as a man, as well as his family, by honoring his wishes. But it was not ideal for us.
Was Real Madrid ready to pay that sum?
That’s in the past…. Yes… The other clubs and even Real were ready to match that amount.