During the 2016/17 season Monaco exploded onto the global scene when, almost out of nowhere, they defeated the riches of Paris Saint-Germain to win Ligue 1 and made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Leonardo Jardim assembled a dazzling squad built primarily on attacking flair but then combined it with searing pace and incredible power that proved too good for most teams across the continent.
It is just under 18 months since they lifted the domestic championship but Monaco’s squad has been obliterated, the lie 18th in the table with one win from their opening nine games and Jardim has been shown the door.
Thierry Henry is poised to become Monaco manager after Leonardo Jardim was sacked
Monaco lifted the Ligue 1 title in 2017 but since then their squad has been largely torn apart
He built an exceptional squad but their excellence proved costly and the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko all left, with Thomas Lemar and Fabinho also heading for the exit this summer.
Despite trying to plug the holes, Jardim’s task proved too difficult and the club ultimately felt they were left with no option but to dismiss him. His dismissal could now give the green light for Belgium assistant boss Thierry Henry to take the reins at football’s ultimate selling club.
The former Arsenal striker has a strong link with the principality side. He graduated from Monaco’s academy to play 141 games for the club, winning the Ligue 1 title in 1996-97.
Monaco’s vulnerability in the transfer market really became notable for the first time in the summer of 2014 when James Rodriguez burst onto the global scene with a stunning World Cup campaign with Colombia.
Monaco’s first high-profile departure under Jardim was James Rodriguez to Real Madrid
Manchester United came calling for young prospect Anthony Martial in the summer of 2015
Bernardo Silva (L) and Kylian Mbappe both left after guiding Monaco to the Ligue 1 title
They were unable to keep hold of their prized asset and sold him to Real Madrid for £65.5million. In the same summer Radamel Falcao joined Manchester United on loan. He also went on to move to Chelsea but came back to prominence for the title-winning season and still plays at Stade Louis II now.
United returned to the south of France to conduct more business in the following summer. They managed to lure away starlet Anthony Martial for £54m in 2015 while imposing midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco were also moved on.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the season they won the league there was very little activity in terms of outgoings. Les Monegasques clinched their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years by defeating Saint-Etienne and Falcao and Mbappe scored 30 and 26 goals respectively in that campaign.
They also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in 13 years, beating Tottenham, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund en route, but eventually lost out to Juventus in the semi-finals.
An underwhelming season followed and Atletico Madrid lured away Thomas Lemar in 2018
Fabinho also left for Liverpool as the last few members of the title-winning team were bought
Jardim was axed on Thursday with Monaco 18th in the table with one win from nine games
It was that summer that the core of the team was ripped apart. Silva and Mendy both left to join up with Pep Guardiola in Manchester while Tiemoue Bakayoko joined Chelsea and PSG tied up an initial loan deal to take Mbappe away before he moved permanently this summer.
Losing such key personnel began to take its toll in 2017/18 as Mbappe, combined with Edinson Cavani and world-record signing Neymar, wrestled Ligue 1 back to Paris with Monaco trailing 13 points behind in second.
There was also a dismal performance in the Champions League as Jardim’s squad finished bottom of a group that included Porto, RB Leipzig and Besiktas as they failed to win a single match.
Clubs then returned this summer to pick the bones of an already limited squad and three more major departures followed, as well as the confirmation of Mbappe’s move to PSG.
Thomas Lemar was the subject of heavy speculation all season but was eventually brought by Atletico Madrid for £52m while Liverpool got over their Champions League final defeat by snapping up defensive midfielder Fabinho for £44m. Experienced Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho also departed for newly-promoted Wolves and has proved a shrewd acquisition so far.
|PLAYER SOLD||CLUB SOLD TO||FEE (£)||SEASON|
|James Rodriguez||Real Madrid||£65.5m||2014/15|
|Radamel Falcao||Manchester United||Loan (£6.84m)||2014/15|
|Anthony Martial||Manchester United||£54m||2015/16|
|Geoffrey Kondogbia||Inter Milan||£32.4m||2015/16|
|Yannick Carrasco||Atletico Madrid||£22.28m||2015/16|
|Radamel Falcao||Chelsea||Loan (£6.3m)||2015/16|
|Delvin N’Dinga||Lokomotiv Moscow||£2.25m||2016/17|
|Kylian Mbappe||PSG||Loan (£40.5m)||2017/18|
|Allan Saint Maximin||Nice||£9m||2017/18|
|Thomas Lemar||Atletico Madrid||£52m||2018/19|
|Keita Balde||Inter||Loan (£4.5m)||2018/19|