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AS Monaco: Key takeaways from Thiago Scuro’s season debrief

Thiago Scuro
Thiago Scuro, Directeur Général de l'AS Monaco © AS Monaco

On Tuesday, AS Monaco’s Director of Football, Thiago Scuro, took stock of the season during a press conference at La Turbie. He notably discussed the subjects of transfers, the club’s ambitions for next season and the Mohamed Camara affair. Here are the key takeaways from his comments to the journalists and media in attendance.

With the objectives achieved for the crusade and him satisfied with the results of the team, who finished second in Ligue 1 to ensure their return to the Champions League after a six year absence, Scuro spoke two days after the last match of the season to share his thoughts on a successful campaign.

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Taking a step back from the 2023-2024 season

“I think our season is satisfactory if we look at the final result. You know more than me what it means to finish in the top three of our championship, and how difficult it is to qualify for the Champions League. When I arrived, I said that the experience of past years was going to be the glue for our future. And certain players and staff members who were already present were able to verify it. We wanted to do things differently, and we did.

“Now our objective is to take a step back from this season, because the result is there, but obviously we have a lot of things to improve. We have gone through more difficult times and we want to understand why, in order to show more continuity and consistency next season. We have shown our ability to react, but we want to control things more, because the expectations will be higher and higher.”

The indispensable role of President Rybolovlev

“The President has been very important and very present for us this season. He sometimes came to attend training sessions, was always close to me, to Adi Hutter and to supporting the players, especially in the locker room. He was always involved in the big decisions made this season and helped us progress, particularly after the elimination in the Coupe de France against Rouen, which was a key point of the season.

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“We had meetings at that time with key players in the squad, as well as the coach, and myself. He has always been behind us, and has played an important part in the fact that we have achieved this goal of returning to the Champions League.”

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The return to the Champions League

“It was our number one goal to get the club back into the Champions League, and it’s done. Our priority now is to retain our best players, especially with this prestigious competition coming up, where the objective will be to progress through the league phase. Then, I don’t control everyone’s desires, but the goal is really to keep progressing.

“We will probably have to strengthen ourselves in terms of staff, however, especially to prepare for our matches, because there will be eight additional opponents next season, whom we will only play once. It’s up to us to prepare for this great challenge.”

Related Reading: Adi Hutter: Everything you need to know about the AS Monaco manager

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On the player recruitment side: “The first major work that we carried out was to analyse the clubs which play in the Champions League. For our part, the current team is already in a good position. Considering the fact that a team involved in two competitions generally uses between 20 and 21 players, we are sufficiently armed in numbers. Paris Saint-Germain, for example, only used 19 players this season, to compete in three competitions.

“If there are departures, they will naturally be replaced, but we do not intend to increase the number of players in the group. Particularly, because we still want to rely on the Elite Group, which provided us with a lot of players this season in periods when we needed them.”

Before that, the Olympic Games

“It’s quite clear, we want to respect the wishes of our players and, at the same time, meet the needs of the club. To do this, we shared with those concerned our two conditions for accepting participation in the Olympics. Firstly, going on vacation before the Games, because they finish very late and we can’t afford to see them leave after that. Then, fortunately we will not compete in the play-offs for the Champions League, which could have conflicted with the Olympic Games.”

For Folarin Balogun, if he is already selected for the Copa America, he will not be able to play both. “It would not be fair for the club to have a player on international duty for 60 or 70 days during pre-season when a big season awaits us.”

© AS Monaco

Looking towards next season

“We want to stay strong! We have the ambition to sign new players. Our needs are guided above all by our performances, which we constantly analyse throughout the season. We have been working on the transfer window since February with the recruitment department, myself, Carlos Avina, Adi Hutter and the assistant coaches. We have a pretty clear plan for this summer.

“Our pre-season will be divided into three parts, with international competitions on the side. Like every start of the season, we begin with a plan, an idea, then the players’ performances quickly speak for themselves so we then readjust our plan based on that.”

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Start of the transfer window

“For transfers, we have an idea of ​​what positions and what profiles we want to recruit, but I don’t think AS Monaco needs a lot of additional players, honestly. We have a strong team, very good options and there will be no AFCON or Asian Cup next season, which was a big burden for us this season.

“As of today, all I can say is that at least one player in defence, midfield and attack will change during the first phase of the transfer market. What is certain is that those who join us will add value to the team. We want players with character and that are capable of giving the coach the opportunity to modify his way of playing depending on the opponent.”

A word on Takumi Minamino and Aleksandr Golovin

“Our priority is to keep them. They are very important players for the club. These two had very solid seasons. I already knew Minamino previously, unfortunately he didn’t have a good start here at AS Monaco so there were doubts about him, but ultimately he was able to manage that. They are very committed to staying with us, especially with the Champions League coming up.”

And Wissam Ben Yedder?

At the end of his contract, Wissam Ben Yedder’s future at AS Monaco is still uncertain. Discussions are currently underway between the player, his agent and the club to agree on his extension, or not.

“I had a conversation with him yesterday (Monday). It was very good. Just him and me. We took stock of the season. Whether he stays depends not only on the club, but also on him. I listened to him and his aspirations for the future. It’s not yet very clear to him. He’s taking into account several aspects about his career and his personal life.

“A player like him, who is now free, is very attractive to the market. We all know his scoring qualities. His history in the club will be marked forever and respected by the entire organisation, but everything does not rest solely on us. We now need to have a conversation with his agent. We hope the issue will be resolved this week. It’s my aim.”

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© AS Monaco

The return of Djimi Traore to Monaco

“We already have a new coach for the Elite Group, who will be Djimi Traore. We are very happy, because we share the same vision of the game, in addition to him being a former AS Monaco player. He matches what we are looking for and has great experience in developing players, thanks in particular to his time at Nordsjaelland. So we look forward to welcoming him here.

“He will therefore be the coach of the Elite Group, and Damien Perrinelle will remain on the staff as assistant coach. When AS Monaco created this project, there was a lot of discussion around it, a lot of criticism. Three years later, we can see that other players have taken the same direction, to prepare for a better transition between training and the world of professional football.”

The Mohamed Camara affair

Last Sunday, against Nantes, Mohamed Camara caused controversy by hiding the logo against homophobia plastered on his jersey during a weekend that the LFP dedicated to the fight against homophobia. The midfielder also did not participate in the pre-match photo, where the two teams of Monaco and Nantes posed in front of the rainbow slogan.

“We are a club and we support the actions put in place by the League. I called Arnaud Rouger (the general director of the League) Tuesday morning. I apologised to him and the club. Mohamed did this for religious reasons and we respect all religions. But we are really very sad after this episode and we do not support it. This is a very sensitive subject.

“Generally speaking, we have taken sanctions since the start of the season for various reasons, but we have handled this internally. We haven’t talked about it publicly and I prefer to do it that way. It won’t happen again next season. We are really committed to these subjects. This episode should not tarnish the image of the club, which does a lot of great things.

“I am not afraid of sanctions against AS Monaco. We’ll see what happens, but punishing the club wouldn’t be fair. It was a personal decision. This does not reflect what AS Monaco is, even if I respect all opinions. I’m not sure why anyone at the club didn’t tell him anything. Probably the players saw him in the locker room, but didn’t pay attention until he entered the field. We can’t control everyone. It got through. We need to improve.”

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© AS Monaco

A possible sale of the club?

“It’s no secret that there is a sales process that is underway, but on a daily basis, we do not feel any impact on our work. There is no internal instability because of this. We continue to work on our roadmap. I work and prepare for the future. I can’t control every decision. We hope this ends as quickly as possible. The sooner it is, the better it will be for the club to have a clear vision for the future. For the transfer window, we stick to the plans we have and if things happen, we will adjust.”

The club’s centenary is approaching

“Speaking of the centenary, we have a lot of events planned throughout the season. There will be a match to celebrate this anniversary, but also special jerseys, which will be a nod to the rich history of AS Monaco. Then certain things will be organised with the club’s former players and coaches. This 100th anniversary season will therefore not be undertaken in one day, but will be the subject of celebrations throughout the year.”

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This article was translated from our French edition