MONACO have revealed they could have raked in nearly half a billion in last summer if they had sold all their top stars.
The Ligue 1 side were fantastic last season winning the French title for the first time in 17 years and reaching the Champions League semi-final.
Then Europe’s big boys come knocking with Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy joining Manchester City and Tiemoue Bakayoko moved to Chelsea.
But the biggest transfer was Paris Saint-Germain landing teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe on loan, with an obligation next summer to pay £162million for the forward.
That added up to £321million in summer sales and Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev admits it could have been a lot more if Fabinho and Thomas Lemar were allowed to leave.
Vasilyev told Telegraph Sport: “It was a new ‘world record’ for transfer fees for one club. “€360m (£321m), or thereabouts, and it could have been more, close to half a billion.
“We understand that we are basically a selling club, and we accept that.”
The current French champion dubbing themselves a “selling club” marks a huge change in the way the club was run when Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the club in 2011.
Big money was spent on Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho, but the club failed to comply with Uefa Financial Fair Play rules as spending far outweighed commercial income.
So a more savvy approach was adopted – sign young talent, sell them on to Europe’s big spenders while constantly promoted players from the academy.
Vasilyev added: “The likes of Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Lilian Thuram came out of this academy so what has happened with him (Mbappe) re-confirms our top status.
“It’s not about making so much money,we want to be successful and this is just a consequence of being successful.
Because what is different is we have very limited resources, revenues, compared to Premier League clubs.
“I mean, in ticketing, we make in one domestic season the same as Arsenal makes in one game.
“The bottom team of the Premier League makes almost three times more than we do being on the top (of the French league) as champions.
“And we want to be competitive on a European level, which we are, so we have to be different and that means we have to be successful in transfers.”
Monaco were keen to keep M’Bappe for at least another season and were stunned when their valuation of the teenager was met in the summer.
Vasilyev continued: “It was between Real Madrid and PSG, the other clubs were really circling around, talking to us but the only other one that became public was this one (Madrid).
“The boy wanted to go. It’s a great project, I have to admit that, and it’s a club that aspires to win the Champions League, and playing alongside Neymar made it even more attractive for him.
“Me, personally, I didn’t see him in Paris but I listened to all his arguments and tried to understand his feelings.
“He was born in Paris, he comes from Paris and he deemed it was too early for him to leave France which was also an argument.
“So we decided if the conditions were roughly on the same level as the other offer we have then, okay, we will let him go.
“But it was hard. He’s really incredible, I’m sure he will be a future Ballon D’Or winner.”