AS Monaco, French Ligue 1, Leagues, Story, Transfers

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim says his big-name stars will stay in January.

Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim has ruled out selling any key players this month amid speculation linking Thomas Lemar with a move to the Premier League.

Lemar has been linked with several clubs in England including Liverpool and Arsenal, while defensive midfielder Fabinho is expected to leave in the summer.

Defending champions Monaco have allowed defender Terence Kongolo to join Huddersfield and midfielder Soualiho Meite has left for Bordeaux, with both departing on loan, but Jardim stressed that any big-money deals will have to wait and underlined his intention to keep the bulk of his squad together.

“We don’t usually make big sales of players in January,” he said. “January is more about giving playing time. That’s more our strategy rather than big sales. It’s important our young players have playing time.”

The Monaco coach added that January presented a chance to field some of his emerging players.

Monaco take on Yzeure, a team from the fourth tier, in the Coupe de France on Saturday before tackling Nice in the Coupe de la Ligue next Tuesday. Those games could see younger players given their chance.

And at a news conference shown on the club’s Twitter feed, Jardim said: “That’s our strategy, more than major sales.”

He added that the players “understand” Monaco’s stance.

Monaco are second in Ligue 1, nine points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

A host of summer departures followed their championship-winning season as Tiemoue Bakayoko joined Chelsea and Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva moved to Manchester City, while Kylian Mbappe left for PSG in a loan move set to be made permanent at the end of the season.

ESPN FC’s Ian Holyman contributed to this report.

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