Leonardo Jardim, coach of Monaco, is rumored to be close to getting the sack as his team lie in 18th place out of the 20 teams in Ligue 1. A record of one win in nine matches in the league makes for grim reading as the team that finished second last season currently occupies a relegation qualification spot. They have also lost their two matches in the UEFA Champions League against Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. However, Jardim deserves time to turn this around considering all the progress the club has made under him.
Before Jardim, Claudio Ranieri took charge of Monaco. Under the Italian’s time in charge, Monaco won promotion as well the Ligue 2 title and in the following season, finished second to only Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. From there, Jardim took over and the club finished third for two successive seasons, the second of which the team was tied on points for second place.
The following season was historic in Monaco’s history. They won Ligue 1 for the first time since the 99/00 season and made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Considering the amount of investment in Paris Saint-Germain and the fact Monaco was in Ligue 2 just a few seasons before makes this achievement a truly incredible one. However, they also managed a run to the semi-finals of the UCL while sustaining their performances in the league. Much credit must be given to Jardim for the success this football team has had.
In this season’s table, Monaco only have six points and that is unacceptable considering the progress the team has made. Although Monaco are a selling club who are forced to relinquish their top talent to other clubs around Europe, they still have a squad more than capable of being in the top four, let alone above 18th place. Players like Djibril Sidibe, Youri Tielemans, and Radamel Falcao are just a few players there that have so much talent and ability. If the club isn’t careful, these players may seek a move away to teams where they can challenge for titles and play in the UCL. If Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, and others left during Monaco’s most successful season, others can’t be expected to stick around while they have seemingly begun to regress if an offer from a prestigious club comes in during the summer.
Yet, despite all that, I believe Jardim shouldn’t be sacked just yet. A coach who can bring the team to not only the Ligue 1 title, but also a place in the semi-finals of the UCL has obvious talent. He should be given a few more games to turn this result around. Personally, five or six more games seems reasonable and if he hasn’t turned things around by then, well then he can be let go and replaced. Monaco won’t be risking relegation because with the quality they have and the rather lack of quality in the lower half of the Ligue 1 table compared to the top half, they shouldn’t have any issues avoiding the drop. Plus, I’d imagine it would be difficult to convince another high-profile coach to come in. Arsene Wenger is available and previously coached the club, but I’m not too sure that’s the job he is waiting for. Likewise, I don’t imagine Laurent Blanc would want to return to Ligue 1 after his time at PSG. Thierry Henry has been linked with the job, but he is untested and represents a risk. Perhaps he can be another Zinedine Zidane like story where it pays off or he could fail and force Monaco to once again look for a new coach. Speaking of Zidane, he would be an amazing appointment, but he is surely looking for a bigger club after his unprecedented success at Real Madrid.
Monaco’s disappointing start to the season is surprising and Jardim will surely be under pressure by now. The board however, can’t be too hasty to make a managerial change. Patience can pay huge dividends and I believe it very well could here if they continue to have faith in Jardim.