JARDIM COY OVER MBAPPE

Monaco coach un­moved by spec­u­la­tion link­ing star striker to PSG, Real Madrid

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PARIS

“I am not go­ing to talk about con­jec­ture. I am stay­ing fo­cused on my work and help­ing my team to evolve,” Jardim told re­porters on Fri­day.

Mbappe, 18, scored 15 times on Monaco’s re­mark­able run to the French ti­tle last sea­son but has been con­stantly linked with a move away from the prin­ci­pal­ity over the sum­mer.

Real Madrid and PSG are both re­port­edly des­per­ate to sign the young France in­ter­na­tional, who is val­ued at €180 mil­lion (RM915 mil­lion).

It is un­der­stood that the player him­self favours join­ing PSG, where he would team up in at­tack with Ney­mar, signed last week for a world record €222 mil­lion.

On the pos­si­bil­ity of Mbappe join­ing the club Monaco pipped to the Ligue 1 crown in May, Jardim re­called the day “a lead­ing direc­tor of a Por­tuguese club, with whom I had a meet­ing, said to me: ‘The trans­fer mar­ket is not just made to strengthen your team, but also to weaken your ri­vals.

“I think that is a strat­egy used by many. But I am stay­ing calm.”

This sum­mer Monaco have al­ready sold Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Ben­jamin Mendy and Valere Ger­main, all key play­ers in their run to the ti­tle.

While they ap­pear weak­ened as a re­sult, they have made a host of new sign­ings, in­clud­ing this week re­cruit­ing Al­ge­rian in­ter­na­tional winger Rachid Ghez­zal, who was a free agent af­ter leav­ing Lyon. The trans­fer win­dow shuts at the end of this month.

“I am wait­ing calmly for the 31st. I like to make the most of each day... we are here to make the best of Monaco,” added Jardim, whose team visit Di­jon in Ligue 1 today.

Jardim also evaded a ques­tion as to whether Mbappe had in­formed him of a de­sire to leave the Stade Louis II.

“The play­ers come to talk to me. I have pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions with all of them. I try to lis­ten to all of them about their ob­jec­tives and am­bi­tions.

“It is some­thing I try to do about once a month. And it is not just the case for Kylian.”

Mbappe has started both of Monaco’s games so far this sea­son, al­though he didn’t score in the 2-1 Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy de­feat to PSG or in last Fri­day’s 3-2 win over Toulouse that be­gan their ti­tle de­fence.

So is he dis­turbed by all the talk about his fu­ture?

“The start of the sea­son dif­fers for ev­ery player. Ev­ery player has a dif­fer­ent way of reach­ing the top of his form. Af­ter that, when there is a lot of move­ment in the trans­fer mar­ket, the play­ers cope with more or less dif­fi­culty. But that is how it is.”

Mean­while, Real have slapped an as­tro­nom­i­cal £640 mil­lion (RM3.6 bil­lion) re­lease clause on play­maker Isco, fol­low­ing the Spa­niard’s re­cent emer­gence as a star man for Zine­dine Zi­dane’s side.

The move comes in light of PSG’s re­cent record-break­ing fee for Ney­mar, pris­ing the Brazil­ian from the grasps of Barcelona.

A prece­dent ap­pears to have been set with the move, with Euro­pean foot­ball’s elite clubs now wary of hav­ing their prized as­sets taken from un­der their nose. Agen­cies

AFP PIC

Nice goal­keeper Yoan Car­di­nale and team­mate Dante (right) bat­tle for the ball with Troyes’ Adama Niane in their Ligue 1 match at the Al­lianz Riviera Sta­dium on Fri­day.

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