It’s easy to forget that AS Monaco began the season by selling some of their key players.
James Rodriguez left for Real Madrid for a fee of £70.4 million, Radamel Falcao moved to Manchester United on a season-long loan and forward Emmanuel Riviere departed for Newcastle United—for just under £6 million.
Beyond that, experienced pair Carl Medjani and Eric Abidal departed, while Sergio Romero came to the end of his loan deal and returned to parent club Sampdoria.
Monaco also lost another key man when right winger Lucas Ocampos moved to rivals Olympique de Marseille on loan.
Monaco vowed they would go about things differently to their moneyed rivals Paris Saint-Germain, and indeed, results at the beginning of the season suggested that they would take their time before returning to contention for the French title.
However, as we approach the final furlong of the campaign, Monaco are firmly in the mix at the top of the table. They currently sit six points off leaders PSG, but that gap would be halved if the Club of the Principality beat Montpellier Herault Sport Club in their game in hand.
Leonardo Jardim’s side are also in the final eight of the Champions League, although they will be considered outsiders against Italian giants Juventus.
All is going well for Monaco—who have drawn eight and lost six in Ligue 1—but just how good could things have been had they not suffered such a damaging exodus at the start of the campaign?