AS Monaco is widely regarded to be among the world’s best clubs in nurturing young talent, developing potential superstars, and then sending them on their way with a fruitful profit margin.
The club’s famous youth academy has seen players such as Kylian Mbappe rise through its ranks and onto greatness, while the team’s scouts possess a well-deserved reputation for spotting players with serious potential.
Monaco signed Aurelien Tchouameni from Ligue 1 rivals Bordeaux in 2020 for 16 million euros. The Frenchman of Cameroonian origin then spent two years proving himself to be a midfield monster with Monaco, featuring in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year in both years and claiming the league’s Young Player of the Year award at the end of the 2020-21 season.
As a result of his performance as a regular starter in the Principality side, Tchouameni’s market value grew exponentially, and he began to garner the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs. In the end, Tchouameni joined Real Madrid for the total sum of 100 million euros. Not a bad bit of business for Monaco.
This is not the first time that Monaco developed a player and flipped them for a much higher price, and it certainly won’t be the last. Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez spent only one season at Monaco, after joining in 2013 from Porto. Monaco coughed up 45 million euros for his signature, but sold him off to Real Madrid for 80 million euros just one year later.
Many of the world’s richest clubs compete in the British Premier League, and as a result, this is where many of Monaco’s most expensive players end up. Anthony Martial became the biggest teenage signing in history when the then 19 year-old striker was transferred to Manchester United for 60 million euros in 2015, but he would not hold on to that record for long.
Monaco’s most golden boy of all time, Mbappe made his professional debut at the age of 16 in the December of 2015 and quickly rose to prominence over the course of the ensuing season. The teenager was at the heart of the Monaco super team that won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, and impressed on the European stage by being part of Monaco’s UEFA Champions League campaign that saw them succeed into the semi-final stage of the tournament.
As a result of all of this, Mbappe’s subsequent transfer to Paris Saint-Germain became by far the biggest sale in Monaco’s history in 2018, as the young Frenchman commanded a price tag of 180 million euros. Mbappe’s sale alone makes up over 10 percent of the club’s transfer income of the last 22 years.
Many of the player’s that surrounded Mbappe in that super team of 2017 were also swiped up by the highest bidder. in 2017 both Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy found a new home in Manchester City for 50 million euros and 57.5 million euros respectively, while Tiemoue Bakayoko went on to Chelsea for 40 million euros, and Fabinho moved to Liverpool for 45 million euros in 2018.
The Brazilian defensive midfielder wasn’t even Monaco’s second most expensive sale in 2018, as Thomas Lemar made a move to Atletico Madrid that earned Monaco 72 million euros. A year later, Youri Tielemans moved on to the Premier League’s Leicester City for 45 million euros, with Monaco paying 25 million euros for him just two years before.
Since the start of the millennium, Monaco has made approximately 1.3 billion euros in transfer sales, while only winning the Ligue 1 title once in those 22 years. That is a lot of money, even in the world of football, and not a lot of silverware.
At this point it comes as no surprise when Monaco is labelled as a selling club, but how can one even expect top tier talents to want to stay at the club when it regularly ends up in the Europa League instead of the Champions League where it belongs?