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Monday 16 October 2017

Jardim and Fabinho deflect Premier move talk

Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim and defender Fabinho both played down talk of imminent moves to England prior to their Champions League clash against Manchester City.

Monaco's superb form this season has seen a number of their personnel linked with big-money switches to the Premier League.

Jardim, who has guided the principality side to the top of Ligue 1, was recently mentioned as a potential candidate to succeed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Fabinho, a full-back who can also play as a defensive midfielder, is reportedly of interest to City, the Gunners and Manchester United.

But Portuguese boss Jardim said: "I think that all managers and players want to coach and play at the highest level and today the Premier League is perhaps the biggest national league in Europe and everyone would like to have the opportunity to coach here.

"But at the moment we are at Monaco and we are a big club and we have a future to forge, and that is why we give 100 per cent to Monaco."

Jardim is not surprised Fabinho has attracted interest from elsewhere and said he rates the 23-year-old as "one of the best players in his position in Europe".

The player himself, speaking alongside Jardim at a press conference at the Etihad Stadium, suggested a move could be possible - but not yet.

He said: "I know my name was linked with more than one English club but I am happy at Monaco at the moment.

"I have a contract until 2021, but the Premier League is a league that interests me and maybe one day I will come and play here."

On reports City were of particular interest to him, he said: "It was my dad who said that, and he spoke about clubs that I might have been interested in in the past.

"It's not topical, I don't think about it at the moment. I am very much focused on Monaco and (the City) game."

Monaco have a burgeoning reputation having put themselves in pole position for the French title on the back of some exhilarating attacking football. They lead Ligue 1 by three points from Paris St Germain having scored 76 goals in 26 games.

Radamel Falcao, who failed to make an impact in loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, has been more like his old self with 19 goals to his name for the campaign. Other players to catch the eye include central midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and wingers Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappe.

Pep Guardiola has said how impressed he has been, but Fabinho is wary of any possible mind games in the City's manager's comments. He said: "I can imagine why he would want to convey that message, but we have seen what they are capable of ."

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