Written by Michael Tait |
Things had been looking very promising for AS Monaco in the last few seasons – reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals and winning the Ligue 1 title ( the highest-ranking division in France) in 2017 all while selling their top talent for high transfer fees and replacing them with inexperienced, young players.
When it worked, it may have looked like a good strategy for a club that has an average attendance of around 8.682 (the lowest in the league this season) and like the rest of Europe have to comply with strict financial fair play restrictions ( implemented by UEFA to keep clubs that enter their European competitions from spending more than they receive in income).
“However, things haven’t turned out the way Monaco would have hoped this season”
However, things haven’t turned out the way Monaco would have hoped this season. They are second from bottom in Ligue 1, were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League before Christmas, and crashed out of the Coupe de France, following a humiliating 1-3 defeat at home to Ligue 2 side Metz.
Monaco’s poor run of games has resulted in two managerial changes with the club desperate to avoid relegation to Ligue 2. Leonardo Jardim was sacked in October after a poor start to the Ligue 1 season and was replaced by former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry.
It was hoped that Henry could steer the club clear of relegation and at the time, Monaco’s president and chief executive officer Vadim Vasilyev was confident of Henry making an impact as the club’s manager.
Vasilyev, October 2018
“His knowledge of football, his passion for the game, his high standards and his commitment to our colours make his nomination a reality,”
“Thierry is both aware of the task ahead and eager to start his new job. He can count on our trust and all our support to bring a new dynamic to the team and carry out its mission.”
Despite his best efforts, things didn’t quite work out for Henry in the Monaco dugout. With only 4 wins from 20 games including a humiliating 5-1 defeat at home to Strasberg. Henry was sacked after 104 days in charge.
Henry, Jan 2019 (source: Henry’s Official Twitter account )
“It is with great sadness that I part company with AS Monaco.
“Despite the struggles and difficulties that we encountered along my short journey, I have still thoroughly enjoyed my time at this wonderful club.”
Questions will possibly still be asked as to whether Monaco should have hired Henry in the first place, with the 41-year-old having no previous experience as a top-level manager.
Henry’s replacement was no other than Leonardo Jardim, who was sacked by the club as recently as October. The Portuguese signed a 2-and-a-half-year contract in a bizarre turn of events.
Vadim Vasilyev explained the clubs decision to part ways with Thierry Henry and reappoint Leonardo Jardim in a statement on the clubs website
“Leonardo should have had an opportunity to continue,”
“We have to acknowledge that during the summer transfer window, we sold too many key players, and, despite considerable investments, mistakes were made with respect to their replacements.
“This did not allow us to create a new, competitive team. The decision to dismiss Leonardo Jardim was also premature.
“Thierry Henry is a football legend but a very unfavourable mix of circumstances, including, above all, numerous injuries to our players, hampered him from quickly and effectively leading the team out of the crisis.
“We believe our players will gain momentum and that, together with Leonardo Jardim as the manager, Monaco will be able to overcome this crisis.”
Leonardo inherits a Monaco side that
While it is fair to say that Leonardo has a job on his hands, the additions of Cesc Fabregas and Naldo in the January transfer window should add some much-needed experience that Monaco had been lacking for some time. This could swing the fight for survival in the red and whites favour, but it’s by no means a guarantee.
Leonardo’s first league game in charge since his reappointment will be against mid-table side Toulouse at the Stade Louis II on Saturday evening.