With the Millions Monaco Have Spent, How Will They Line Up?

AS Monaco FC is the name on everyone’s tongue, and for good reason. Bursting at the seams with cash thanks to the next Russian billionaire on the block, Dmitry Rybolovlev, they have spent it on a flood of top talent. Names like Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho, and Eric Abidal are of a caliber fans would expect at the best clubs in the world. Monaco is a club with a very successful history in France and is in every way primed to wreak havoc in Ligue Un. There is no reason to believe they won’t soon be embarrassing Premier League clubs in the future the way Borussia Dortmund and Shakhtar Donetsk did last season.

The question is now, with so many new, gifted players, how might Monaco build their game plan?

One thing is certain. That game plan will revolve around former Atletico Madrid and current Colombian national striker Radamel Falcao. The lethal Falcao netted 34 goals in 42 games last season, playing most often as a lone striker atop various formations. Monaco manager Claudio Ranieri’s side may have played many Ligue 2 games with two strikers, but in Falcao he has a player who can manage up top on his own and has proven ineffective when forced to share the space with another striker, as was the case in last season’s Madrid Clasico. Do not expect a 4-4-2 next season.

As far as the wings are concerned, Monaco are sure to field the recently signed James Rodriguez on the right. At 21 years old, he already has 2 goals in 12 caps for his country along with scoring 11 and assisting 9 in his 34 matches last season at Porto. Colombian press has even taken to calling him, “the new Falcao.” At left wing, expect to see right-footed Belgian u21 Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco. In 29 matches with Monaco in Ligue 2, the 19-year-old scored 8 goals and assisted 7 more. Carrasco scored twice from free kicks last season, so expect more from him in that capacity.

In central midfield, there is no doubt that Joao Moutinho will feature. His 14 total assists last season led Porto with teammate (at Porto and now at Monaco) James Rodriguez coming in second. Moutinho was especially effective in the Champions League, completing 87.5% of his passes and getting outscored by striker Jackson Martinez by just a single goal. He also comes with the added benefit of having worked alongside Falcao in Porto as they won the treble under Andre Villas-Boas. Jeremy Toulalan, Monaco’s recent purchase at defensive midfielder, comes with 36 caps for the French national side and excels at the holding midfield role.

The rest of Monaco’s midfield does not necessarily command the formation being made to fit them, but with young Argentine Lucas Ocampos present, Claudio Ranieri does have a decision to make. Does he line up the squad in a 4-2-3-1, with Moutinho probably deeper than he would like, but with room for the aforementioned Ocampos behind Falcao, which is his primary position? Or does he go with a 4-3-3, with Ocampos and Ferreira-Carrasco fighting for the left wing position? Ocampos has also lined up as a second striker, but as mentioned earlier, Falcao is not the kind of striker who pairs well with another.

It is clear, though, that in his wingers and talismanic striker like Falcao, Ranieri has the flexibility up front to charge his wide players to swap wings, which one can use to open up stubborn defenses. Given the squad’s current composition, a 4-3-3 with Ferreira-Carrasco/Campos, Falcao, and Rodriguez, Monaco  looks especially dangerous. A free-roaming Moutinho with Toulalan and the rest of Monaco’s defensive-minded midfield should prove able to manage the transition from defense to attack and set up many, many goals. Finally, Eric Abidal’s return at left back will give Monaco experience, skill, and determination at the back. Ligue 1, be afraid. UEFA, get ready. Monaco is coming.

This team looks poised to wreak havoc on Ligue 1. Can they force their way into the CL in a single season, or will this squad of all stars and wunderkinds falter in their attempt? Have your say in the comments!

10 thoughts on “With the Millions Monaco Have Spent, How Will They Line Up?”

  1. My dream is that Monaco come in and offer LFC around 60mil pounds for Wing Wizard “Stewart Downing” and Centerback Stalwart “Coates”…we will even throw in Midfield Dynamo “Jay Spearing” for free.

      1. Maybe I’m thinking of someone else from Uruguay. I thought Liverpool expected big things from him when he signed. Has he ever had a serious run of games in the team in the year or so since he signed.

  2. I just don’t see Monaco gelling immediately. Granted, I think they are building a team that will fit to Ligue 1 more than PSG did two years ago. Some of these players that are coming in will not be able to handle the physical play of Ligue 1.

    As far as Falcao, I think we still have to see what happens with him before we make judgement. When Javier Pastore came into the league for PSG two years ago, he was given this superstar status among those who casually watch Ligue 1. Granted, he is alright, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype that was cast on him before he even suited up for PSG.

    Players coming into Ligue 1 and having the impact of someone like Zlatan Ibrahimović did last year is extremely rare. Still, the question isn’t the immediate impact the players have, but the long term impact. The smart thing for Falcao to do is to mold himself into a player like Lisandro Lopez, who isn’t always the top scorer in the league, but constantly producing and the main reason that Lyon can still compete for the title even with the losses they have suffered.

    If people think Falcao is going to have a 30+ goal season with Monaco, they will be extremely disappointed. He will not get as many clear looks, or penalty shots, in Ligue 1 as he did in La Liga. Still, I do think that Falcao is a consistent player and can fit into the mold of Lisandro Lopez. Players who have played in Portugal in the past usually perform well in Ligue 1.

    If he tries to go all-out superstar in his first year in Ligue 1, he will burn out quickly. If he plays at a consistently solid level, then Monaco will be a big force.

    Again, I do like the way they are building up this team. I just don’t think that Monaco deserves this team!!

    1. To the person that says Falcao won’t get more than 30 goals in the season… Will get a rude awakening once he gets that. Lisandro Lopez is not half of the player Falcao is. Falcao crushed all records from Lisandro Lopez in Portugal in his first season at Porto. 72 goals for Porto and 70 goals for Atletico de Madrid in another two seasons make Falcao’s ability to score goals unprecedented where not even Ibrahimovic can compete. I am 100 percent sure Falcao will at least get 30 goals in his first season in France if he stays healthy.

      1. I don’t think he will hit that 30+ mark, as players in Ligue 1 rarely do. In the 13 years that I have closely followed Ligue 1/Division 1, only one player has hit that mark, and that was Ibrahimovic. While the bigger teams, which now includes Monaco, have concentrated on offense, smaller teams, like Ajaccio, concentrate on defense. They can’t compete with the highly offensive teams.

        Comparing what Lisandro and Falcao did in Portugal is like comparing apples and oranges. This isn’t that league.

        On the other hand, with all of the money coming into Ligue 1, I am afraid that it might lose some of its defensive luster. I have started to see this shift already happen, but not in an earth-shattering manner.

        Falcao will not score 30 goals in Ligue 1…you can put money on it!

        1. I agree with TeSo on this one. Falcao is supposed to be the main goalscorer for Monaco, and he produced lots of goals every year for his teams. I have money on him as top goalscorer in ligue 1, and 30+ goals seems reasonable for him i think.

  3. What’s crazy is that Stade Louis II only seats about 17,000 people if I remember correctly. Unbelievably nice place. Visited it when I lived over in France but never saw a match there. Totally exotic locale – marinas on each side, you half expect to see James Bond walking about.

    I wonder if they would even be allowed to host a UCL match if they made it to that level. Probably would have to play in the Vélodrome over in Marseille. Nice is right next to Monaco and I think they are building a new ground to replace that crumbling tiny ruin they play in. So maybe there.

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