AS Monaco have not had much success since their shock 2016-17 French Ligue 1 title, narrowly avoiding the drop in 2018-19 before finishing ninth in a disrupted campaign last season that finished in March.
Their preparation for the new campaign wasn’t ideal either as head coach Robert Moreno was dismissed in mid-July, immediately replaced by Niko Kovac.
It was considered a harsh deal for Moreno given they narrowly missed out on Europa League qualification ultimately as a result of a late goal versus Nice.
Niko Kovac didn’t have the best of times at Bayern Munich most recently, particularly given what Hansi Flick accomplished with his team, winning the Champions League last month.
However, the Croatian got the job with the Bavarians for his accomplishments at Eintracht Frankfurt, so Monaco may well have made a good appointment.
Whilst the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy have all moved on, Kovac has a new bunch of talented youngsters to work with.
Centre-back pairing Axel Disasi (22) and Benoit Badiashile (19) both had an interesting start to the season; each at fault for a goal in the opening game before scoring the goals to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Reims. Badiashile himself has already been linked to the likes of Manchester United.
20-year-old Aurelien Tchousameni and 21-year-old Youssouf Fofana has started both games in centre midfield, whilst Wissam Ben Yedder is the only played 30 or above to start either of their two opening games.
It appears that the season ahead will be a case of blooding the youngsters as part of a long-term project, whilst still having experience from the likes of Ben Yedder, Cesc Fabregas, Djibril Sidibe and Steven Jovetic to give them a good chance of finishing in the European places.
One of the most promising talents at the Stade Louis II has to be 19-year-old striker Willem Geubbels. How much playing time the youngster will get may depend on whether Ben Yedder stays or not as so far he has only been used as a late substitute in both Ligue 1 matches. One should not forget about Pietro Pellegri either, though the 19-year-old has not had much opportunity or success since his big money move from Genoa two years ago.
Niko Kovac’s side were 1-0 winners away to Metz over the weekend, with the win being made more impressive by the fact that Youssouf Fofana was sent off at the beginning of the second half.
Don’t expect this Monaco side to pull up trees in 2020-21, but the start of a rebuilding project is finally underway on the French Riviera that could lead to success in a couple of seasons time.
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