Monaco Linked to Falcao, Moutinho and Rodriguez: Are They the Next Big Thing?

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 21, 2013

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 18:  Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez and Cristian Sapunaru of FC Porto celebrate with the trophy  during the UEFA Europa League Final between FC Porto and SC Braga at Dublin Arena on May 18, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

AS Monaco have seen plenty of headlines in the last two weeks as they prepare to spend big in the summer transfer window.

The 2004 UEFA Champions League finalists are looking to celebrate promotion to Ligue 1 in style and are reported to be nearing the completion of three incredible summer transfer deals.

Life in Ligue 2 had been hard to take for fans of the club, but last summer owner Dmitry Rybolovlev supplied a hint of what was to come: The Russian billionaire, who's net worth is approximately $9.1 billion (according to Forbes), signed Argentine wunderkind Lucas Ocampos for €16 million from River Plate.

Rybolovlev has now gone a step further, and, according to Sky Italia, Monaco have agreed deals for world-class stars Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho.

As I announced a few days ago, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez will sign to AS Monaco, according to Sky Italia. #ASMFC

— Francois Piraux (@F8Piraux) May 21, 2013

Sky Italia: #Monaco have agreed a deal for #Falcao

— indykailaNews (@indykaila) May 21, 2013

The deal for Falcao is said to be in the region of €60 million alone, while the double-deal for James and Moutinho is said to be worth €70 million.

It represents a whopping €130 million outlay on just three players, and it also suggests more big-money transfers are on the way.

Falcao, as we know, is a powerful, predatory striker; He has scored 28 league goals for Atletico Madrid at the time of writing—an incredible 45 percent of the team's strikes.

James and Moutinho were two key factors in FC Porto's recent Liga Sagres victory, and both carry big reputations: Manchester United have long been linked to the former, while Tottenham have come within inches of signing the latter.

Should the deals go through one major question abounds: Is this a sustainable business model for Monaco to employ?

There are plenty of oil-rich billionaires bankrolling football clubs, but not all take the same "splash your cash" mantra.

Shakhtar Donetsk's owner Rinat Akhmetov had deduced a fantastic method of running a successful Ukrainian club. He buys Brazilian talent at low prices, pads his squad out with a Ukrainian spine and sells said talent on using huge release clauses.

Shakhtar do not spent £70 million a season like some, but they win the Ukrainian Premier League every year and end up making a profit.

On the other side of the coin, there's the Mark Hughes-Manchester City approach: Bar Carlos Tevez, the club overpaid for a lot of decent Premier League players, but no great ones. The result? Wayne Bridge's four-year, £90,000-per-week wage packet haunting the books.

Rybolovlev clearly wants to make a statement and restore Monaco's name to our lips, and he appears to be coming in somewhere down the middle: He's buying big, but these aren't top-tier has-beens who are on their last legs.

These are world-class players with youth on their side. Moutinho is 26 but he's been playing first-team football since he was 17 and was made captain of Sporting at age 20; James is one of South America's brightest stars, and at age 21 he's only just getting started.

It has the look of a short-term shopping spree, but the youthful/prime nature of the recruits suggests it's just the start of potential dominance.

Monaco also holds the advantage of being a truly beautiful place to live, with sun, sea, harbours and Formula One racing to get excited about.

Should the deals go through, this could be the start of a dynasty that rivals Paris Saint-Germain's new-found dominance in Ligue 1. A few more players of this ilk coming in, who would bet against a European finish for the club next season?