Rumor: Monaco boss ditches Ligue 1 for shock China move

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On the heels of its first Champions League semi-final appearance in over a decade, AS Monaco’s head coach is apparently cashing in.

According to a report by Portuguese newspaper A Bola, Leonardo Jardim is leaving Monaco high and dry to accept a $40 million, 3-year contract with Chinese club¬†Beijing Guoan. Jardim had two years left on his Monaco contract. According to the report, Jardim’s contract with Monaco includes a $17 million release clause.

Beijing Guoan fired Spanish coach Jose Gonzalez just four days ago with the club seventh in the Chinese Super League table, immediately following a 1-0 defeat to 11th placed Chongquig Lifan. Former Chinese international Xie Feng was placed in charge as interim manager for the third time.

Monaco is potentially dealing with a mass exodus of players this summer, but the Venezuelan-born manager was not expected to be among those to depart.

Some are not convinced. Get French Football followed that up on Twitter by saying it’s possible this rumor was started as leverage in Monaco negotiations. With the report not coming from either the country of his current job, his new job, or his birth (although he is of Portuguese nationality), it’s admittedly odd that A Bola would have this information first.

Losing Jardim could arguably be more harmful to Monaco than the departure of any individual player. Young winger Bernardo Silva has already moved to Manchester City, and high-profile striker Kylian Mbappe is expected to depart, netting the club a massive transfer fee in the process. Other players rumored to be leaving for greener pastures include midfielder Fabinho, wing-back Benjamin Mendy, and winger Thomas Lemar.